WASHINGTON – Christian cathedrals and other holy sites are ramping up security across Europe as they increasingly become targets of Islamic terrorism.
The terrorists who launched a deadly attack in Barcelona last week originally planned to bomb the Sagrada Família, an unfinished Roman Catholic Church and one of Spain’s most famous architectural sites.
The attack killed 15 and injured more than 130, but the terrorists were unable to complete their plan of damaging the basilica.
The plot was ruined when some of the bombs built for the jihadi attack exploded while in storage, destroying the house in which they were held.
The terrorists planned to pack the homemade bombs into vans, drive the vans to different tourist areas and then detonate the explosives.
“They were preparing one or several attacks in Barcelona, and an explosion in Alcanar stopped this as they no longer had the material they needed to commit attacks of an even bigger scope,” Josep Lluis Trapero of Catalonia’s police told reporters.
In response, European cities are stepping up security around their historic landmarks to defend against the deadly terrorist threat.
“[Jihadis] want to maximize the terror effect by striking people who are relaxing and having a good time. They strike European heritage and Christian sites because they believe it part of their responsibility before Allah to ‘break the cross,'” Pamela Geller, editor-in-chief of the Geller Report and president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative told WND.
In Cologne, police are adding stone barriers around the iconic Cologne Cathedral to prevent terror attacks, Breitbart reports.
Cologne police president Uwe Jacob said it was in response to the violence in Barcelona.
Germany has suffered from similar vehicle attacks, including the Berlin Christmas market attack last December that killed 12.
The widespread use of barriers in Germany has led to the “creation of a new industry,” the New York Times reports. The need for barriers has become so commonplace that “each city and region develops its own security measures.”
The Barcelona attack prompted authorities in Milan, Italy, to erect barriers near the city’s main cathedral.
Authorities in Britain and France have also increased the number of barriers in urban areas designed to prevent vehicles from driving into pedestrian areas.
Geller believes these measures are ultimately ineffective.
“Bollards and planters and cement barriers are never going to stop jihad. Jihadis spend all their days devising ways to thwart security measures,” she explained.
The inspiration for vehicle attacks is allegedly ISIS leader Abu Muhammad al-Adni, who told the group in 2014 to “slaughter [infidels] with a knife, or run him over with your car.”
While European authorities spend millions combating the jihadist threat through increased security measures, Geller notes there exists a more effective solution.
“The only thing that will stop jihad in Europe is to end the suicidal Muslim migration policies and enforce existing laws stringently upon Muslim communities. But European governments aren’t about to do those things,” she concluded.
Islamists’ violence against Christian churches actually is reported around the globe at times.
ISIS, in fact, released a video showing its fighters tearing up photographs of Pope Francis and destroying statuary and other furnishings in a church in the Philippines.