Islamist Terror Is Alive and Kicking

Stand for Israel  |  April 23, 2019

TOPSHOT - Local residentss gather on a closed street near St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 23, 2019, two days after a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. - Sri Lanka began a day of national mourning on April 23 with three minutes of silence to honour more than 300 people killed in suicide bomb blasts that have been blamed on a local Islamist group. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Last year, it was said that the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group had been defeated. But in the wake of this weekend’s Easter attacks in Sri Lanka, JNS’ Yoav Limor writes that those who thought terror was dead have been proven very, very wrong:

It seemed that Islamic terrorism had been defeated, or at least brought to a halt. The extinction of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and the marginalization of the Islamic State (IS) in general, provided a sense of relief to many in the Western and Arab worlds.

This followed several years in which terrorism appeared to strike without mercy and without borders. The Islamic State phenomenon, which has swept up masses of people in the Middle East and Europe (but also North America, Asia and Australia) since the summer of 2014, threatened to disrupt long-standing practices: For short periods, fear reigned in Paris and London, Sydney and Brussels, and in every city and village in the Arab world…

The path to achieve this goal, whether in Strasbourg, San Bernardino or Colombo, runs through fear. That is the secret power of terror: the disruption of life. That is why these terrorists attack soft targets that will result in mass casualties and widespread media coverage: Sri Lanka’s packed tourist hotels and churches served this purpose well.

As in Syria, there is no way to fight terrorism in Sri Lanka without a combination of intelligence and operational activity. One doesn’t need the details that have been released thus far (the information relayed by the Indians, the alerts that went out in Sri Lanka that included the names of some of those involved in the attacks) to understand that this was a serious failure by the government: A series of attacks, carried out within a short period at least six different sites, as well as others later on, requires early intelligence gathering, extensive logistical preparations, careful coordination and of course, the recruitment of terrorists.

All of these components provide the government with a series of opportunities to thwart the attack. Years of fighting Palestinian terrorism have made Israel a world champion in the field, as well as the unofficial guide of all of its counterparts around the world. We paid for our expertise with blood and money, but there simply is no substitute. Those who want to save lives must act ahead, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and treat every terrorism alert with the utmost seriousness…

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