WASHINGTON – More terror attacks inside the United States, such as the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, are just a matter of time, say experts in a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
U.S. counterterror and law enforcement authorities are saying that U.S. “soft targets” are vulnerable to attacks similar to the recent one by the Somali al-Qaida-affiliated al-Shabaab group on the Kenyan shopping mall on Sep. 21.
They are trying to counter similar violence in the United States, but these officials say there are significant challenges to protecting such soft targets as shopping centers, sports events, train stations or even airports where large numbers of people come together.
They add that it is impossible to protect every soft target around the clock, making “definite vulnerabilities” inevitable.
In a recent interview with the open intelligence entity Langley Intelligence Group Network, or Lignet, former New York City Police Chief Joseph Esposito said the domestic threat from homegrown terrorists is increasing.
“Lone wolves” and “small numbers” who operate outside group structures are on the rise, he said, because they are difficult to track by electronic surveillance or undercover officers.
Soft targets throughout the United States “are very vulnerable,” another source said.
“While traditional criminals want to escape after committing a crime, a terrorist often is prepared to die to carry out an attack,” the source said.
He added that this mindset on the part of a terrorist calls for a new law enforcement approach that requires police to think proactively and acknowledge that deadly force may be required to defeat a terrorist attack.
“The lone wolf is a particularly troubling development to law enforcement, as is the growing use of high-powered, lethal weaponry,” a Lignet report said.
“Because U.S. cities always have served as ‘melting pots’ of various ethnic groups, law enforcement continues to face evolving threats requiring a mix of new and established tactics and timely intelligence,” it said.
To underscore this growing problem of soft targets, sources say that within 20 miles of the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., which attracts tens of millions of visitors annually, there is a large population of Somali-Americans.
A number of these Somali Americans are known to have gone to Somalia for terrorism training and a few may have participated in the Sep. 21 mall attack in Kenya, next door to Somalia.
“The overwhelming majority are law abiding, patriotic citizens,” the Lignet report said. “But many retain ties to their homeland, and authorities estimate that 60 of them have supported al-Shabaab.”
Both Britain and Russia are very concerned that their Islamist militant nationals, who are being trained and sent to such war zones as Syria and Pakistan, will return to threaten similar action in their homeland. Such a concern now applies to these estimated 60 Somalis who eventually could return to the U.S. to commit similar terrorist acts.
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