Is there an Islamic State terror attack threat for 2017 celebrations around the world? Police in the United States, Europe, Australia, Turkey, and Indonesia say “yes.”
There have been at least 36 ISIS-linked attacks throughout the world this year, with the most recent being the Christmas market massacre in Berlin, Germany. On December 19, Anis Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian asylum seeker, hijacked a truck from its Polish driver, Lukasz Urban, and drove it into a Christmas market crowd at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin-Charlottenburg, Germany. 12 people were killed and 48 others were injured in the confirmed ISIS attack.
After the attack, Amri fled to Paris and Chambéry before taking a train to Turin, then Milan. Amri was killed on December 23 in a shootout with police after arriving by train in Sesto San Giovanni, north of central Milan. According to the New York Times, Amri was asked to show his identification papers but instead pulled out a pistol. He was then shot and killed by police.
Following his death, ISIS terrorist channels released a video of Amri pledging allegiance to Islamic State “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Watch that here.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Embassy in Turkey issued a New Year’s warning to U.S. citizens and expatriates in the country. It reads:
U.S. Mission Turkey reminds U.S. citizens that extremist groups are continuing aggressive efforts to conduct attacks throughout Turkey in areas where U.S. citizens and expatriates reside or frequent. As we approach the end of 2016, U.S. citizens should be mindful of this when deciding to attend public gatherings for Holiday and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The statement follows global sentiment about public gatherings of large crowds for New Year’s Eve. The Express reports that ISIS intends to take advantage of sexual assaults in Cologne, Germany to distract police away from a larger terror attack. The Straits Times reports that Indonesian police recently foiled a New Year’s Eve attack planned by a group of ISIS-linked militants.
Australian police recently thwarted a Christmas Day attack, reports CNN. Earlier this month, the FBI warned U.S. citizens about an ISIS threat on American churches.
As for the famous New Year’s Eve in Times Square, ISIS has previously threatened the venue. In November 2015, a propaganda video showing a suicide bomber attacking the landmark was released. Watch that here.
A pro-ISIS group has also called for more lone wolf attacks in the West during the holiday season, according to terrorism watchdog SITE Intel Group.
Last month, an ISIS magazine article targeting the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade instructed jihadists how to carry out a successful attack as a lone wolf operative. In the article, ISIS suggested that a lone wolf use a vehicle to plow into a crowd and to carry a secondary weapon.
The attack method was then used by Ohio State University student and Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan on November 30. It was then used 3 weeks later by Anis Amri in Berlin.
A similar attack claimed by ISIS was carried out this year on July 14 at a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France by Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. Bouhlel is responsible for murdering up to 84 people by ramming into them with a truck and shooting at them.