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Brave work protects travellers and citizens

June 27, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Arrests in Spain and the quick apprehension of a suspect after a stabbing at a US airport have highlighted the effort authorities around the world are putting into keeping travel as safe as possible.

Just as airlines and the travel industry seek to make travel carefree, enjoyable, safe and rewarding, a few others aim to make it the exact opposite. Several terror-related attempts over the past week or two have focused on travel terminals such as airports and railway stations or busy public streets. A mix of quick, bold action and good luck have prevented the outcomes being a lot worse.

Recent events:

  • Police in Madrid arrest three Moroccans, including a “highly radicalised” ISIS terror suspect, just days before two million people arrive in the Spanish capital for a Gay Pride festival. The festival is currently underway and will run until this Sunday, 2 July 2017. Police say they thwarted a plot and have likened the 32-year-old main suspect to terrorists behind recent attacks in Britain and France. More than 200 suspected jihadists have been arrested in Spain since the start of 2015.
  • The stabbing of a police officer at a US airport last week is now being investigated as a possible terrorist attack. Bishop International Airport near Flint, Michigan, was evacuated following the attack, in which a 50-year-old man shouting the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar” (God is greater) stabbed a policeman in the neck. The assailant, identified as Amor Ftouhi, repeated the word “Allah”, according to the FBI, who say the suspect is a Canadian national.
  • Belgian prosecutors confirm a man who tried to set off a bomb at Brussels Central Station was a 36-year-old Moroccan. The device, consisting of nails and gas canisters inside a bag, failed to fully detonate, after which the man shouted “Allahu akbar” and rushed towards a soldier on patrol. The soldier shot him dead. The attacker lived in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, which has a large immigrant population and harboured some of those involved in ISIS attacks on Paris and Brussels in 2015 and 2016.

French police with tourists


  • In Paris, a 31-year-old man with Muslim jihadist connections rams a car loaded with guns and a gas bottle into a police van on the Champs-Elysees. His vehicle bursts into flames but he inflicts no casualties, incinerating only himself. The attack happened near the spot where a jihadist shot dead a police officer two months earlier.
  • Police shoot, wound and arrest a hammer-wielding Algerian man after he strikes an officer on the head in front of horrified tourists at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Following the attack on 7 June the attacker is found to have pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Written by Peter Needham

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