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Terror strikes, again

Terror strikes, again

Terror struck at the heart of London on Wednesday, when a lone assailant killed four civilians and a policeman and injured at least 40 others near the British Parliament. The attacker, who had tried to enter the Parliament, was eventually shot dead by security forces. For security agencies, dealing with lone wolf attacks is an onerous task. Their use of low-grade weaponry to achieve maximum damage, while completely prepared for the eventuality of death, makes them especially potent and dangerous. Although this one assailant managed to slip through, there have been ten other attacks that British security agencies have foiled in the past two years. A nation's security apparatus has to be on the money all the time, while the terrorist requires just one lucky break. These are the odds. The Islamic State group on Thursday claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attacks near the British Parliament. What is imperative to note is the position taken by ISIS that the London attack came "in response to its call to target Crusader countries". In other words, it was not a directed/commissioned strike.

Quite evidently, the terror group did not have prior knowledge of the London attack but are ready to use such spectacular acts of violence to terrorise and inspire irrational fear, polarise communities to create potential recruits and spur their own cadre. India has fortunately not suffered a lone-wolf attack, but there have been instances of young Indians recruited for propagating the hateful and vicious ideology of the Islamic State, and some have even travelled to Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to fight for their cause. In the age of the internet, the potential of cyber radicalization is frightening. If the transnational terror group can recruit Indian and provide the necessary logistical support for their travel, then one can assume that it is only a matter of time before they indoctrinate persons to unleash violence in India itself. Exploiting real or perceived religious grievances, ISIS could radicalise impressionable young individuals, which could then subsequently encourage lone wolf attacks. The challenges before Indian authorities are immense. Beyond a vigilant state apparatus and well-functioning institutions like the judiciary, observers argue that an attempt to defang radicalization will indeed require political solutions.

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