20 July 2016
The mass truck attack on pedestrians along a promenade in Nice on Bastille Day marks a significant new stage in Islamic State’s transformation to a global terrorist movement. It epitomises the IS strategy to seed a culture of extremism and violence among the Muslim population of Europe following the loss of territory in its heartland of Iraq and Syria and pursue its political goals.
On Bastille Day,14 July 14 2016, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove a 19-tonne refrigerated lorry into the crowds at 1045 p.m. killing, maiming and injuring nearly 300 men, women and children. The 31-year-old French Tunisian delivery man, Lahouaiej-Bouhlel ploughed through two kilometres of the Promenade des Anglais before exchanging fire with the police. He killed 84 and injured 202. The death toll is likely to rise as 52 critical of which 25 on life support.
The wider impact of the IS attack is too early to assess accurately. “Shocking France and their soul”, the attack was traumatic on the French, if not, the wider European population. The truck attack seemed to echo the injunction to IS followers by the IS spokesman Abu Mohamed al Adnani through al Furqan on 21 September 2014: “If you cannot [detonate] a bomb or [fire] a bullet…bash his [westerner] skull in…slaughter him with a knife, run him over with your car, throw him off a cliff, strangle him, or inject him with poison.”
… Rohan Gunaratna is a Professor of Security Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He is the Head of RSIS’ International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) and the editor of the Handbook of Terrorism in the Asia-Pacific (Imperial College Press, London 2016).
GPO / ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 21/07/2016