Up next, ex­perts warn: “un­der­age ter­ror­ists”

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Rick Noack

Dur­ing the week­end, Ger­many’s at­ten­tion was fo­cused on a 12-yearold boy with Iraqi par­ents who al­legedly had planned a nail bomb attack at a Ger­man Christmas mar­ket. He may have re­ceived in­struc­tions from the Is­lamic State, ac­cord­ing to news re­ports that cited un­named in­tel­li­gence sources.

The story of Ger­many’s young ter­ror sus­pect likely will dis­ap­pear out of pub­lic fo­cus amid the car­nage a truck crash caused at a Christmas mar­ket in Ber­lin on Mon­day, leav­ing 12 peo­ple dead. But more than neigh­bor­ing coun­tries, the largest Euro­pean na­tion re­cently has wit­nessed the emer­gence of a wor­ri­some new type of mil­i­tant at­tacker, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts: “un­der­age ter­ror­ists.”

In Fe­bru­ary, 15-year-old Safia S. stabbed a po­lice of­fi­cer in an attack al­legedly in­spired by the Is­lamic State. In July, a 17-year-old Afghan refugee at­tacked sev­eral pas­sen­gers on a train in Bavaria af­ter pledg­ing al­le­giance to the Is­lamic State. Last week’s ap­par­ent at­tempted nail bomb attack in Lud­wigshafen eas­ily could have caused in­juries or deaths.

Ex­perts ar­gue that the three cases are ev­i­dence of a shift­ing pro­file of at­tacker. “Orig­i­nally, ISIL fo­cused mostly on young adults aged be­tween 17 and 23 for the sim­ple rea­son that they are un­likely to be gov­ern­ment spies,” said Daniel Koehler, the di­rec­tor of the Ger­man In­sti­tute on Rad­i­cal­iza­tion and DeRad­i­cal­iza­tion Stud­ies, us­ing an acro­nym for the Is­lamic State.

“But since the or­ga­ni­za­tion has taken heavy losses on the ground in Syria and Iraq and is los­ing ter­ri­tory, it has more and more changed its pro­pa­ganda to trig­ger lone ac­tor at­tacks by prac­ti­cally any­one will­ing to do it.”

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