Stabbing as a terrorist tactic

Stabbing attacks, which have been used as a terrorist tactic for thousands of years, became an increasingly common form of terrorist attack on random civilians in the 21st century, in particular during the 2010s and 2020s.[1]

Like the vehicle-ramming attacks that increased during the same time period, stabbing attacks are prevalent because attackers can easily obtain knives and other stabbing instruments.

Causes propelling the rise of the tactic edit

According to security analyst Peter Bergen, stabbing attacks have gained popularity because such attacks are inexpensive and easy to carry out, but very difficult for security services to prevent.[2]

Incitement by terrorist groups edit

In May 2016, Al-Qaeda's Inspire published an article entitled “O Knife Revolution, Head Toward America.”[3] The magazine urged Muslims to kill “the intelligentsia, economic and influential personalities of America,” by low-tech methods including stabbing attacks on the grounds that such assaults are “easy options that do not require huge efforts or man power, but the result is parallel to the big operations or even more.”[3][4]

In October 2016, Rumiyah, the online propaganda and recruitment magazine published by the Islamic State (IS) told followers that holy warriors down through Muslim history have “struck the necks of the kuffar” in the name of Allah, with "swords, severing limbs and piercing the fleshy meat of those who opposed Islam.” The magazine advised its readers that knives are easy to obtain, easy to hide, and deadly, and that they make good weapons in places where Muslims might be regarded with suspicion.[5][4]

Modern history edit

A wave of lone wolf terrorist stabbing attacks in which Palestinian Arabs attacked Israelis began on 3 October 2015 with the first of the Lions' Gate stabbings.[6] The ensuing 2015–2016 wave of violence in Israeli-Palestinian conflict is thought to have been driven not by formal organizations but, rather by social media postings inspiring young Palestinians to undertake attacks with knives and with vehicles.[7][6][8][9] In response, Israeli police have revamped their anti-terrorism tactics, increasing monitoring of social media, improving the intercommunication of mobile devices, and giving security agencies the ability to instantly trace phone calls made from such devices.[10]

The series of Palestinian stabbing attacks were followed by the spread of such attacks during the wave of Islamic terrorism in Europe which had seen "at least" 10 stabbing attacks allegedly motivated by Islamic extremism in Europe by the spring of 2017, with a particular concentration of such attacks in France.[11][12] A number of cases have also occurred in the United States during this period, including the St. Cloud, Minnesota, mall stabbing and the Ohio State University attack.

List of terrorism-related stabbing attacks edit

Date Incident Location
2010 Stabbing of Stephen Timms Britain
2011 Tel Aviv nightclub attack Israel
2013 La Défense attack France
2013 Murder of Lee Rigby Britain
2013 Tapuah Junction stabbing West Bank
2014 Queens hatchet attack United States
2014 Endeavour Hills stabbings Australia
2014 Alon Shvut stabbing attack West Bank
2014 Murder of Ibolya Ryan Emirates
2014 Kunming attack China
2014 Tours police station stabbing France
2015 Henriette Reker attack Germany
2015 Nice stabbing attack France
2015 Saint-Quentin-Fallavier attack Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, France
2015 Lions' Gate stabbings West Bank
2015 University of California, Merced stabbing attack United States
2015 Tel Aviv synagogue stabbing Israel
2015 Avijit Roy Bangladesh
2015 Tel Aviv attacks Israel
2016 Hurghada attack Egypt
2016 Hanover stabbing Germany
2016 Murder of Hallel Yaffa Ariel West Bank
2016 Stabbing of Brussels police officers Brussels, Belgium
2016 Stabbing of Charleroi police officers Charleroi, Belgium
2016 Murder of Jo Cox Birstall, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
2016 Magnanville stabbing France
2016 Normandy church attack France
2016 Ohio restaurant machete attack United States
2016 Paris police station attack Paris
2016 Würzburg train attack Würzburg, Germany
2016 Munich knife attack Munich, Germany
2016 Ohio State University attack United States
2016 Minto stabbing attack Australia
2017 Westminster attack London
2017 Paris machete attack Paris
2017 Jerusalem Light Rail stabbing Israel
2017 Queanbeyan stabbing attacks Australia
2017 London Bridge attack London
2017 Notre Dame attack Paris
2017 Jerusalem attack West Bank
2017 Bishop International Airport incident United States
2017 Hurghada attack Egypt
2017 Halamish stabbing attack West Bank
2017 Marseille stabbing France
2017 Turku stabbing Turku, Finland
2017 Hamburg stabbing Hamburg, Germany
2018 2018 Ariel stabbing West Bank
2018 2018 Vienna embassy stabbing Austria
2018 2018 Paris knife attack France
2018 2018 Liège attack Belgium
2018 Flensburg stabbing incident Germany
2018 Lübeck bus attack Germany
2018 Amsterdam train station attack Amsterdam, Netherlands
2018 2018 Melbourne stabbing attack Australia
2018 Murders of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen and Maren Ueland Morocco
2019 Oct Paris police headquarters stabbing Paris, France
2019 2019 London Bridge attack London, United Kingdom
2020 2020 Villejuif stabbing Villejuif, France
2020 2020 Streatham attack London, United Kingdom
2020 April 2020 Romans-sur-Isère knife attack Romans-sur-Isère, France
2020 June 2020 Reading stabbings (3 fatalities)
2020 2020 Morges stabbing[13] Morges, Switzerland
2020 September 2020 Paris stabbing attack Paris, France
2020 2020 Dresden knife attack Dresden, Germany
2020 Murder of Samuel Paty Éragny-sur-Oise, France
2020 October 2020 stabbing attack on Algerian-French women Paris, France
2020 October attack, one woman decapitated Nice, France
2021 Rambouillet knife attack[14] Yvelines, Île-de-France
2021 Saskatoon stabbing Saskatoon, Canada
2021 2021 Auckland supermarket stabbing Auckland, New Zealand
2021 Murder of David Amess Essex, United Kingdom
2022 2022 Brussels stabbing Brussels, Belgium
2023 Algeciras church attacks Algésiras, Spain

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Bergema, Reinier; Kearney, Olivia. "Rise O Muwahhid, Wherever You May Be: An Analysis of the Democratization of the Terrorist Threat in the West".
  2. ^ Bergen, Peter (22 March 2017). "London shows the challenge of preventing low-tech terror". CNN. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Latest Issue of Inspire Magazine Encourages Small Scale Attacks". ADL. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  4. ^ a b Johnson, Bridget (6 October 2016). "ISIS Call for Stabbing Sprees a Nightmare Scenario for Stopping Terror Plots". New York Observer. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  5. ^ Wright, Robin (26 November 2016). "The Hand of ISIS at Ohio State". The New Yorker. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  6. ^ a b Wedeman, Ben (15 October 2015). "Israeli-Palestinian violence: What you need to know". CNN. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  7. ^ Booth, William (25 December 2015). "Israelis are calling attacks a 'new kind of Palestinian terrorism'". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  8. ^ "U.S. House Panel Unanimously Votes to Condemn Palestinian Incitement". 2015-10-24.
  9. ^ Hatovely, Tzipi (31 January 2016). "Palestinian Incitement: Hate-Speech That Kills". Newsweek. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  10. ^ Fox, Robert (27 June 2017). "Israel changes tactics to tackle street terror". London Evening Standard.
  11. ^ Jenkins, Nash (19 December 2016). "A Timeline of Recent Terrorist Attacks in Europe". Time. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  12. ^ Rubin, Alissa (5 October 2016). "2 Brussels Police Officers Are Stabbed in 'Potential Terrorist Attack'". New York Times. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  13. ^ Murder suspect acted ‘out of vengeance against the Swiss state’
  14. ^ Terror inquiry into Rambouillet knife attack