Sunday, November 15

11/13 Attacks: Coordinated but not sophisticated UPDATED 11:40 PM


From the (U.K.) Telegraph 'live blogging' today of 13/11 issues:
Isil says no one killed in strikes
Islamic State has reportedly said no one was killed by the joint French and US airstrikes on Raqqa. It said the targets hit were "abandoned sites". It is not possible to verify the claim.

“But the big thing is the determination of the attackers. That in France and Europe is new — people who are willing to kill bullet by bullet.”

It's not so new; if Americans hadn't jumped the man who was loaded with automatic weapon magazines on a Calais-Amsterdam train earlier this year there would have been a lot of dead passengers. That perp has a connection to Moleenbeek in Beligum, reports the Times, as does at least one of the 13/11 attackers:
In the search to trace the others, investigators focused on Belgium. Authorities there have arrested several people in Molenbeek, an impoverished section of Brussels that is home to many Arab immigrants and that has been linked to past terror attacks.
One surprising detail from the NYT report, which I'm not quoting verbatim here (it's a lengthy report), is that the French bombing raid on Raqqa on October 8 was an attempt to be preemptive. Western intelligence had gotten wind of a planned attack on France and the US had alerted France in September, but the information on the attack was very vague. 

The haunting question, which the NYT report goes nowhere near addressing, is whether the attack might have been averted if France (or Russia) had been privy to U.S. intelligence on the location of Islamic State's command center in Raqqa before 13/11. 

Only the Five Eyes governments had such intelligence, which they hadn't shared with any other government -- not until after 13/11. That from an AP video report I mentioned earlier today. 

Yet since starting its bombing campaign in Syria, Russia has repeatedly asked the US to share intelligence on IS locations in Syria and gotten the chirping of crickets in reply.

I find it unconscionable that the U.S. didn't share intelligence with Russia given that they knew as early as September that IS was planning an attack on France.

From the New York Times report, Inquiry Finds Mounting Proof of Syria Link to Paris Attacks by JIM YARDLEY, KATRIN BENNHOLD, MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and ADAM NOSSITER; NOV. 15, 2015
A French official said that some of the attackers had demonstrated a discipline that suggested military-style training, and that the plot involved considerable planning and input from an organized group.

But some analysts noted that many aspects of the assault had failed. The suicide bombers sent to attack the soccer match between France and Germany did not inflict many casualties. The Islamic State had also boasted of carrying out an attack in the 18th Arrondissement, but it never happened.
And the suicide bombs used by at least six of the attackers were unsophisticated, according to some analysts. At one cafe in Paris, an attacker managed only to blow himself up. Indeed, his belt may have detonated prematurely on his way to an intended target in the 18th Arrondissement, officials said.

Even so, analysts and security officials agreed that the willingness of the attackers to carry out suicide bombings and to kill relentlessly with assault rifles suggested a new level of commitment for attacks in Europe.

It is coordinated,” said Alain Bauer, a French criminologist who serves on an advisory council to the government. “But the big thing is the determination of the attackers. That in France and Europe is new — people who are willing to kill bullet by bullet.”

The French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said the attackers had “prepared abroad and had mobilized a team of participants in Belgium, and who may have benefited — the investigation will tell us more — from complicity in France.”



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