The Islamic State (IS) is plotting “Mumbai-style” terrorist attacks directed at soft targets such as public places and restaurants in Europe, and in France in particular, the European Union police agency Europol warned on Monday.
Europol chief Rob Wainwright said that the ISIS had “developed a new combat style capability to carry out a campaign of large-scale terrorist attacks on a global stage — with a particular focus in Europe.”
It has the will and the capability
Releasing a new Europol report on counter-terrorism, he said the terror group “has a willingness and a capability to carry out further attacks in Europe.”
“All national authorities are working to prevent that from happening,” he added.
The report warned that “the IS is preparing more terrorist attacks, including more ‘Mumbai-style’ attacks, to be executed in member states of the EU, and in France in particular.”
Soft targets beware
The Europol report has said the attacks will be primarily directed at soft targets, because of the impact it generates.
“Both the November Paris attacks and the October 2015 bombing of a Russian airliner suggest a shift in the IS strategy towards going global,” it added.
“In selecting their targets, local IS commanders are believed to enjoy tactical freedom to adapt their plans to specific local circumstances, adding to the difficulty for law enforcement to detect such plans and identifying the people involved at an early stage,” the eight-page report said.
Nine militants carried out multiple terror attacks in Paris in November that killed 130 people.
Similarities in Paris, Mumbai attacks
The report said the modus operandi in Paris and Mumbai attacks was similar. The chosen targets in both cities included restaurants and cafes and centres of entertainment, guaranteeing high impact in numbers of fatalities and in the level of attention generated, the report said.
In Mumbai there were 10 attackers, in Paris nine. The Mumbai attacks resulted in 166 deaths while the Paris carnage killed 130 people.
New beheading video
The Europol warning comes at a time when the IS has released a strongly defiant new beheading video, showing the nine ‘Paris attackers’ and threatening an attack on the U.K.
The 17-minute video, dubbed ‘Paris Has Collapsed,’ features the final words of the killers behind the Paris attacks last November and shows footage of the Big Ben, Tower Bridge and Trafalgar Square as well as British Prime David Cameron and House of Commons Speaker John Bercow.
The U.K.-related images are shown towards the end of the clip, which predominantly focuses on the Paris attackers.
The video seemingly aims to show that the Paris attackers, some of whom had French and Belgian passports, had trained in IS-held territory before carrying out Paris attacks.