Latest French attacks – Are they lone wolf attackers or just a nutjob?
On December 22, in Dijon, France, a man rammed his car into a group of pedestrians while shouting “allahu akbar.” French officials in Dijon claim it wasn’t terrorism, just a ‘mentally ill’ subject.
He ran down 11 people, two of whom were seriously injured. He told police he used “allahu akbar” to give himself the courage to do it. The man was arrested, and police stated he had a lengthy criminal record dating back into the 1990s.
France 24 wrote,
Coming just two days after a suspected Islamist attack on police officers in central France, the prosecutor’s words eased concerns the Dijon attack may have been inspired by Islamic extremism.
According to police, the man had targeted groups of passersby at five different locations in the city in a rampage that lasted around half an hour.
Tarrare said the suspect’s motives were “relatively vague and unclear” but that he was upset at the treatment of Chechen children.
Two days before that, a man in his 20’s tried to stab police officers while shouting “allahu akbar” at the police station in Joue-les-Tours. Three officers were injured in that attack, two seriously, one with only minor injuries. The man was shot dead.
Officials in Dijon stated their incident was “absolutely not a terrorist attack” and told citizens that it was a case of severe mental illness.
But in Tours they stated,
“When someone attacks a police station shouting Allahu Akbar, there are grounds to investigate whether he acted alone, received orders or behaved irrationally,” the prosecutor later told BFM television to explain the terrorism investigation.
The attacker was not on any watch-lists maintained by France’s main domestic intelligence service, the General Directorate for Internal Security, the source involved in the inquiry said.
But the source noted the assailant’s brother was known to security agencies for his radical convictions and had at one point planned to travel to Syria.
Cazeneuve said he had ordered “security measures to be stepped up” for police personnel and firefighters across the country.
Lone Wolf or nutcase
France has its work cut out for it. Experts say there are at a minimum 1,200 French jihadists, some of whom are in Syria. Determining how many of its people have slipped into that danger zone has to be difficult with such a large population of Muslims to monitor.
Whether someone shouts “allahu akbar” because they’re a wanna-be terrorist or stabs police officers because they are one, is a very very, thin line.