Flashback 2016: Trucks, poison and knives: Terrorists’ new toys

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New Delhi, Dec 20: A truck plowed into innocent bystanders at the Berlin Christmas market on early Monday morning, killing 9 and injuring several others. Cars, choking, pushing a person down from a high place -- this year has seen use of more and more of such unconventional weapons in 2016.

[Also Read: Berlin attack: Suspect a refugee from Pakistan?]

Vicky Nanjappa explains how the terrorist moved from the usual guns and bombs to create maximum devastation and panic...

Berlin

'Use a truck, van, car, stone, knife or even push a person down the building' the booklet says, while stressing that the weapon was not important, but the death of a person was.

The July 14, 2016 Nice attack was a classic example of how terrorists were using unconventional weapons.

Both the Al Qaeda and the Islamic State had put out a booklet for its recruits on the kind of weapons that could be used to carry out a terrorist strike.

A 19-tonne cargo truck was deliberately driven into a crowd that was celebrating Bastille day on the Promenade des Anglais at Nice, France on July 14, 2016. About 86 died in this incident. The attack was claimed by the IS.

Guns and bombs are no longer the conventional weapons for terrorists. The choice of weapons are becoming simpler since it avoids detections. Who would ever imagine a terrorist strike in which a stone or a car is the terrorists's choice of weapon.

Going beyond convention:

The truck as a terrorist weapons is pretty odd. But killing using a weapon is not new. It has been used extensively by Palestine-based terrorists. Another infamous incident was the Glasgow bombings of June 30, 2007.

Bengaluru-based Islamist, Kafeel Ahmed rammed a burning car into the wall of Glasgow airport. A follow-up investigation in Karnataka found that terrorists had planned on ramming a bomb-laden vehicles into tourists in Goa.

'Ultimate mowing machine'

The Al Qaeda has very specifically mentioned trucks as the ultimate mowing machine. In 2015, the terrorist organisartion called on jihadists to attack with trucks. In a lengthy article that was written in its propaganda magazine, Inspire, it termed the truck as the 'ultimate mowing machine'. The article said 'Pick up the truck not to mow grass, but mow down the enemies'.

'Kill them, spit on their faces'

A similar call was given by the IS leader (killed on August 30, 2016) Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. He had said, "If you are unable to find an improvised explosive device or a bullet, run your enemy over with a car."

"There are cars available and targets ready to kill. Kill them, spit on their faces and run them over with your cars," he said.

Adnani stated that in future, terrorists must use poison, rocks and knives to carry out attacks. The ISIS leader also said if nothing was available, then push the infidel down from a high place.

"If you are unable to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him," he said.

Kill at any cost

Such calls clearly indicate that the terrorist is moving away from the conventional bomb or gun. Security is being enhanced across the globe and this would make penetrating a security network difficult with guns and bombs. However for terrorist groups the show must go on and they must kill the infidel no matter what.

The ISIS in particular is looking to make terrorist attacks deadlier, brutal and also cost effective. It has set the propaganda rolling and wants every Muslim to be part of it. In such a scenario, the use of an unconventional weapon makes sense for the IS.

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