Attack on Cologne Cathedral Foiled

The Christmas/New Year season is one of heightened terrorism alert in Europe. Today, German authorities announced that they had stopped an intended Islamic attack on Cologne’s (Koln’s) historic cathedral:

German police have arrested three people suspected of planning a New Year’s Eve terrorist attack on Cologne Cathedral, which was reportedly to be carried out in a car loaded with explosives.

Officers had first been informed of an attack planned for Christmas Eve and patrolled the cathedral with machine guns until New Year’s Eve, when they intercepted the group.

The detainees, who are all Tajik, had planned to use a car as their means of attack but “in which way is not known”, said Cologne police.

Once again, it seems that intelligence was good, as the three suspects were arrested far from the cathedral:

The suspects were detained in the cities of Duisburg, Herne and Dueren in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and their apartments in these areas were also searched.

These suspects are apparently involved in an international group loyal to ISIS:

Bild Daily reported in December that the group had allegedly wanted to carry out attacks for Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), an Isis offshoot in Afghanistan.

The group had become involved with an extremist network in Germany, Austria and Spain, according to German prosecutors and the country’s Federal Intelligence Service.

The three suspects are believed to be linked to another Tajik national, aged 30, who was arrested on Christmas Eve, according to Cologne police.

The 30-year-old was also detained by German police on the same day that Austria announced the arrests of another three suspects in Vienna.

All things considered, the problem of Islamic terrorism is not as severe as one thought it could be ten or fifteen years ago. This is due, I think, to effective international police work, and also, one hopes, to the fact that most European Muslims do not support ISIS or other terrorist groups.

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