Investigators are still looking into the background, motives, planning, and accomplices behind the terrorist attack last week in Nice, France, where a man killed at least 84 and injured 300 with a truck. But, The Washington Post's Michael Birnbaum and James McAuley write, this attack again illustrates how quickly terrorists can become radicalized and how hard such attacks are to stop:
The man who plowed a truck down a crowded Nice thoroughfare and killed 84 people was a “soldier of the Islamic State,” the militant group said Saturday, as French authorities said the attacker was inspired by terrorist organizations.
It remained unclear whether the Islamic State had directed the attack, was taking responsibility for an assault it inspired or was simply seeking publicity from an event in which it had no direct hand. But no matter the exact connection to organized groups, investigators appear to believe that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, was taking his cues from their message.
The link underscores the difficulty of preventing the spread of extremist ideology in a world where even people like Bouhlel — whose family and neighbors portray him as a troubled loner — can be spurred to attack without training, resources or connections.
“It seems that he radicalized his views very rapidly. These are the first elements that our investigation has come up with through interviews with his acquaintances,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Saturday, without offering details. Five people have been detained for questioning in the case.
“We are now facing individuals who are responding positively to the messages issued by the Islamic State without having had any special training and without having access to weapons that allow them to commit mass murder,” Cazeneuve said...