herald

Sunday 22 January 2017

How can Government be sure we're not a target for a terror attack?

USAF plane at Shannon
USAF plane at Shannon

Only an hour into 2017, terror struck again. Islamic State's (IS) first target of the new year was Reina nightclub in Istanbul.

A lone gunman opened fire on the 600 or so revellers, killing 39 men and women.

The latest outrage followed the mass murder at a Berlin Christmas market by a truck driver aligned to the terror group.

Despite its loss of territory in the Middle East, the attacks have sent out a chilling message that IS is still in business.

These extremists have shown they can strike at will at any target they choose, using a network of suicide bombers and gunmen.

It is almost impossible for law enforcement or state security agencies to defend against these attacks by so-called lone wolf operatives.

Despite massive security operations, IS has demonstrated its ability to strike terror into the hearts of people in major cities across Europe.

Terror

Our Government has reassured us that this country has little to fear. I am not so sure.

I have pointed out in this column on a number of occasions the reasons for my anxiety.

I believe that our policy of allowing more than two million US military personnel to transfer through Shannon Airport to conduct warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan places this country in danger from IS.

The recent disturbing case of Khalid Kelly, an Irishman from Crumlin killed while fighting for IS in Iraq, should be a wake-up call to the government.

Two years ago, Assistant Garda Commissioner John O'Mahony said more than 40 individuals had gone from Ireland to fight in the Middle East since 2010, including some who joined IS.

Any of these fanatics could become a lone assassin on their return. In light of the recent attacks, no western nation can be complacent.

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