Terrorists shifting focus to 'soft' targets

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, Sep.9 (ANI): Terrorists are aiming for hotels and other easier-to-hit targets as security measures at military and government facilities continue to improve, says STRATFOR, a global intelligence company.

According to STRATFOR, Al Qaeda is changing from a centralized organization with global goals to regional "franchises" with more parochial aims and strong grass-roots support.

Fox News quoted the STRATFOR report as saying that these smaller cells get less training and less money, so they set their sights lower.

According to STRATFOR, the number of attacks on hotels has more than doubled since the 9/11 attacks in 2001 when compared with the eight years before.

Injuries and deaths caused by those attacks have increased six times over the same comparison period.

A hotel is the ultimate soft target for Islamic extremists: a fixed location, lots of human traffic and shallow security perimeters. Hotels also attract many Westerners, giving militants high probabilities of killing or injuring large numbers of them in a single attack, according to the report.

From a terrorist's perspective, the downside to hitting soft targets is that the attacks don't generate as much"political and ideological mileage"as hitting a hard target such as a better guarded government building or military facility, the report says.

Despite the increasing attacks in hotels, the report says many owners and managers have been reluctant to equip their buildings with more security measures, which can be cumbersome and inconvenience guests.

But that mentality may have to change.

"Terrorism-related liability considerations, which could be called a hushed concern among hotel industry insiders since Sept. 11, are becoming a much more prominent issue," the report says. (ANI)

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