Emails, Jessica Stark Rivinius, communications director, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, University of Maryland, Nov. 6, 2017

2:01 p.m.

Thanks so much for reaching out. I'm checking with my team now to see if they can take a look at these numbers today. We included a portion of vehicles as contact weapons in a recent overview report, but I'm checking to see if there's more recent data we can look at or parse out ISIS attacks.

 

See pg. 7 here: https://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/START_GTD_OverviewTerrorism2016_August2017.pdf 

 

Several terrorist attacks in Western Europe in 2016, including two of the mass-casualty ISIL-related attacks in France and Germany, involved vehicles used as contact weapons (rather than as vehicle-borne IEDs). Although this tactic is not unprecedented, there has been a marked increase in the frequency and lethality of these attacks. 4 Due to conflicting information, this attack is classified as “doubt terrorism proper” in the Global Terrorism Database. 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 Total Deaths Year Total Deaths from Terrorist Attacks in Western Europe, 1970-2016 United Kingdom Spain France Italy Greece Ireland Germany Other Source: Global Terrorism Database Note: Statistics for 1993 are estimated. START Background Report © University of Maryland, August 2017 8 The graph above indicates that since 2001—when al-Qaida operatives used vehicles as contact weapons in an extraordinary way in the September 11 attacks in the United States—the use of vehicles as contact weapons was initially relatively rare, and typically resulted in fewer than 10 total deaths. Both the frequency and the lethality of this tactic began to increase in 2013 and 2014 with terrorist attacks in the Middle East, East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, North America, and Eastern and Western Europe. One attack in the United Kingdom involved two assailants who hit Lee Rigby, an off-duty soldier, with are not immediately clear due to the fact that 81 of the 183 attacks that involved vehicles as their car and subsequently murdered him using machetes. The exact implications of this tactic contact weapons between 1970 and 2016 (44%) also involved other types of weapons. These most frequently included firearms, incendiaries, and explosives. In some cases, the vehicle was primarily used to cause property damage or breach security.

 

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Jessica Stark Rivinius

Communications Director

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

University of Maryland

2:11 p.m.

Through June 2017, START's Global Terrorism Database has 20 records of ISIL-related terrorist attacks involving vehicles as contact weapons. The information below is provided by Dr. Erin Miller, Program Manager for the Global Terrorism Database.

A quick look at our definition of various classifications for ISIL (more info on ISIL in this report here)...

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Jessica

2:23 p.m.

Here are the incident summaries for the attacks...

 

Jessica

 

06/30/2007: Two men, reportedly linked to Al-Qaida in Iraq, rammed a flaming Jeep Cherokee filled with canisters of gasoline into Glasgow Airport in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday. The two men--Bilal Abdulla and Kafeel Ahmed--were apprehended in the attack. Abdulla was a legal medical doctor while Ahmed was an aeronautical engineer. Ahmed died on August 2, 2007 from burns he received in the attack. A police officer and a civilian were also wounded in the attack.   No claim of responsibility was reported.

07/04/2014: Assailants destroyed an unknown number of shrines and mosques in Tal Afar city, Nineveh governorate, Iraq. There were no reported casualties resulting from the attack. The Islamic State of Levant and the Iraq claimed responsibility for the incident.

08/23/2014: Assailants attempted to attack an oil refinery in Baiji city, Saladin governorate, Iraq. At least 30 assailants were killed in the attack. No group claimed responsibility for the incident; however, sources attributed the attack to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

10/20/2014: An assailant in a vehicle struck two Canadian Armed Forces soldiers in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu city, Quebec province, Canada. The assailant then led police on a chase, crashed his vehicle, and approached police with a knife before being shot and killed. One of the soldiers was killed while the other was injured in the assault. No group claimed responsibility; however, authorities identified the attacker as Martin Couture-Rouleau.

03/05/2015: Assailants demolished buildings with bulldozers at the archaeological site in Nimrud, Nineveh governorate, Iraq. There were no reported casualties although large parts of the city were destroyed in the attack. No group claimed responsibility; however, sources attributed the incident to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

03/07/2015: Assailants demolished buildings with explosive devices and bulldozers at the archeological site in Hatra city, Nineveh governorate, Iraq. There were no reported casualties although large parts of the city were destroyed in the attack. No group claimed responsibility; however, sources attributed the incident to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

06/26/2015: An assailant attacked an Air Products factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier town, Rhone-Alpes province, France. The assailant beheaded a supervisor and hung his head from a fence before driving a vehicle into a gas-filled warehouse. In addition to the slain supervisor, two other employees were injured in the attack. An individual, identified as Yassin Salhi, claimed responsibility for the incident.

08/20/2015: Assailants demolished the Mar Elian Monastery in Al-Qaryatayn town, Homs governorate, Syria. There were no reported casualties in the attack. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the incident.

07/14/2016: An assailant rammed a truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. The assailant, identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, opened fire on police officers before being shot and killed. In addition to the assailant, 86 people were killed and 433 people were injured in the attack. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the incident; however, Bouhlel's connection to ISIL could not be confirmed.

07/14/2016: Assailants attacked Libyan army personnel in Benghazi, Libya. At least 13 assailants were killed in the ensuing clash. No group claimed responsibility for the incident; however, sources attributed the attack to the Barqa Province of the Islamic State.

08/10/2016: An assailant ran over a police officer and then stabbed him in Bisha, Asir, Saudi Arabia. The officer was killed in the attack. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the incident.

10/19/2016: Assailants physically assaulted six civilians and then tied them to a vehicle and dragged them behind it in Safinah, Nineveh, Iraq. It is unknown if the victims were killed in the attack. No group claimed responsibility for the incident; however, sources attributed the attack to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), noting the victims were related to an anti-ISIL tribal leader.

11/28/2016: An assailant rammed his vehicle into a group of students and stabbed bystanders at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, United States. At least 11 people were injured before a nearby police officer shot and killed the assailant. The victim, identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, wrote on his Facebook page prior to the attack, "If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace with the Islamic State group." The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also claimed responsibility for the incident; however, Artan's connection to ISIL could not be confirmed.

12/17/2016: Assailants shot and injured a Russian Police officer and stole his vehicle in Grozny, Chechnya, Russia. The Caucasus Province of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

12/19/2016: An assailant drove a truck into a Christmas market in Breitscheidplatz, Berlin, Germany. At least 12 people were killed and 48 people, including two United States citizens, were injured in the attack. This was one of two attacks carried out on the same day; in an earlier event, the assailant hijacked the vehicle and killed the driver. The assailant, identified as Anis Amri, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In addition, ISIL claimed responsibility for the incident; however, the assailant's connection to the group could not be confirmed. Amri was killed several days later by police officers in Milan, Italy.

 

01/08/2017: An assailant drove a truck into a group of off-duty Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers visiting the Tayelet in Armon Hanatziv neighborhood, Jerusalem, West Bank. At least four soldiers, including two United States citizens, were killed and 17 other soldiers were injured in the assault. The assailant, identified as Fadi al-Qunbar, was shot and killed after backing the vehicle up and ramming the crowd a second time. The Groups of Martyr Baha Eleyan claimed responsibility for the attack. Sources also suspected that the incident may have been carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

04/07/2017: An assailant hijacked a vehicle and drove it into a department store in Norrmalm neighborhood, Stockholm, Sweden. At least five people were killed and 14 other people were injured in the attack. In addition, an explosive device was also discovered in the cab of the vehicle following the assault. The assailant, identified as Rakhmat Akilov, claimed he was a supporter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), stating that the attack was carried out in revenge for bombings in Syria.

04/11/2017: An assailant rammed his motorcycle into a police station and stabbed police officers in Banyumas, Central Java, Indonesia. Three police officers were injured in the attack before the assailant, identified as Muhammad Ibnu Dar, was arrested. No group claimed responsibility for the incident; however, sources attributed the attack to Jamaah Ansharut Daulah.

04/19/2017: Assailants equipped with three explosives-laden vehicles and a bulldozer attacked military forces in Farouq neighborhood, Mosul, Nineveh, Iraq. It is unknown if there were any casualties as security forces repelled the assault. No group claimed responsibility for the incident; however, sources attributed the attack to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

06/03/2017: Assailants driving a van ran over pedestrians along the London Bridge in London, England, United Kingdom. At least three people were killed in the incident. This was one of two coordinated attacks in the same area; the assailants crashed the van soon thereafter and ran towards the Borough Market nearby, stabbing civilians in pubs and restaurants. At least 48 people were injured across both incidents. The assailants were identified as Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane, and Youssef Zaghba. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks; however, the connection between the group and the assailants could not be confirmed.

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Jessica Stark Rivinius

Communications Director

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

University of Maryland