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CRT News Coverage
August 26, 2015

Foiled France Train Attack Highlights Europe’s Very Modern Terror Problem

by
Hannah Stuart

Originally published in Newsweek

In the aftermath of the attempted terror attack on a train bound for Paris last Friday, analysts have raised questions over what Europe can do, if anything, to protect itself from the increasingly unpredictable nature of such threats.

On Sunday, French police confirmed the gunman to be Ayoub el-Khazani, a 25-year-old Moroccan man, who boarded a high-speed international Thalys train in Brussels armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, a Luger automatic pistol, ammunition and a box-cutter. He was only prevented from unleashing carnage after three off-duty U.S. servicemen and a Briton wrestled him to the ground and managed to subdue him. They have now been awarded the Legion d’Honneur—France’s highest honour—for their bravery.

The message ISIS is sending to its followers across Europe has also changed, according to Hannah Stuart, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, a British think-tank. Whereas previously the group called on its followers to travel to Syria as they needed recruits for nation-building, “Now the message is, ‘If you want to fight, stay at home and commit attacks there’,” Stuart says.

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Hannah Stuart

About Hannah Stuart

Hannah Stuart is a Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and has authored reports on extremism, terrorism and jihadist ideology as well as religious law and the role of religion in the public sphere. Hannah has a strong research record and her work has informed UK government policy. She gave testimony to the UK Home Affairs Select Committee on radicalisation. She has written analysis for the Wall Street Journal, The Times, Foreign Policy, Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, and the Guardian, among others. Hannah has a MA in International Studies and Diplomacy (with Distinction) from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and a BA in English Literature from the University of Bristol.

Full profile  |  See all of Hannah Stuart's work