2014 Dijon attack

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2014 Dijon attack
Côte-d’Or-Position.svg
Location of Côte-d’Or within France
Location Dijon, France
Date 21 December 2014
Attack type
Vehicle-ramming attack
Weapons Car
Deaths 0
Non-fatal injuries
13

On 21 December 2014, a Muslim man in the French city of Dijon was arrested after a vehicle-ramming attack in which he drove a van into pedestrians in five areas of the city in the space of half an hour. Thirteen people were injured, two of them seriously.

The alleged perpetrator had a record of mental disorder and no known links with terrorist groups. The local prosecutor said the incident was not linked to terrorism and the Interior Ministry believed that he had acted alone, although anti-terrorism investigators opened an inquiry into the attack.[1]

Attack[edit]

In the space of half an hour, the alleged attacker, identified only as Nacer B, drove a Renault Clio van into groups of pedestrians in five separate areas of the city.[2][3][1] Thirteen people were injured; two of them sustained serious injuries.[4] The accused allegedly shouted Allahu Akbar, brandished a knife, and claimed that he was "acting on behalf of the children of Palestine."[5] According to Dijon city prosecutor, Marie-Christine Tarrare, the accused had become “very agitated” after watching a television program about the plight of children in Chechnya.[6]

Suspect[edit]

The man arrested was reported to be "40-year-old man of Arab origin" and "Algerian and Moroccan descent."[7][6] He had been known to the police for minor offenses committed over the course of 20 years, and had repeatedly been treated for “serious and long-established psychiatric issues”.[6]

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve described him as "very unstable". The local prosecutor said the incident was not linked to terrorism and the Interior Ministry believed that he had acted alone, although anti-terrorism investigators opened an inquiry into the attack.[1]

The Times described Dijon as a "apparently lone-wolf Islamist attack."[8] The Financial Times described it together with the attacks in Tours and Nantes as "the first Isis-linked attacks in the country."[9] According to the Globe and Mail, this attack was "apparently inspired by a video" circulated by ISIL calling on French Muslims to attack non-Muslims using vehicles.[10] According to David C. Rapoport of the University of California, Los Angeles, these three attacks can be understood in the context of the rise of the Islamic State in Syria. "In September 2014, after the U.S. organized its airstrikes, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman called on Muslims in Western countries to find an infidel and ‘smash his head with a rock’, poison him, run him over with a car or ‘destroy his crops’. Two months later a video released in French contained virtually the same message, and a series of strange 'lone wolf' attacks followed on three consecutive days, the perpetrators declaring “'God is Great' in Arabic. Three policemen were stabbed in Joué-lès-Tours, and vehicles were used to run over eleven pedestrians in Dijon and ten in Nantes."[11] The Financial Times describes the 20 December 2014 Tours police station stabbing, this attack on 21 December, and the 22 December 2014 Nantes attack as "the first Isis-linked attacks" in France.[9]

In his 2017 book, Words Are Weapons: Inside ISIS’s Rhetoric of Terror, Philippe-Joseph Salazar, wrote that "the French government strenuously denied that (this and the 2014 Nantes attack) were terrorist attacks, but terrorist experts dissented, referring to them as examples of a 'low intensity permanent warfare.'"[12] Citing this 2014 Dijon car attack, Mark Silinsky of the United States Army War College describes a view held by "some in the West... that political violence perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam is not and cannot be authentically Islamic... In this view, the perpetrators are fueled with a rage unconnected to any religion. Even when perpetrators roar “Allahu Akbar” or bellow praises for the Caliphate, these proclamations are dismissed as empty or misguided rhetoric."[13] In their 2017 article, Is there a Nexus Between Terrorist Involvement and Mental Health in the Age of the Islamic State?, Emily Corner and Paul Gil, describe this attack as example of the "tendency to try to dismiss the possibility of terrorism altogether" in instances where a "confirmed diagnosis" is available.[5]

Context[edit]

In his 2017 book Migration, Terrorism, and the Future of a Divided Europe: A Continent Transformed, Christopher Deliso discusses this attack in the context of a series of "terrorist" attacks "carried out by immigrants (and new migrants)" using "very basic but deadly weapons" in Western countries, noting that this particular attack occurred after ISIS released a video calling on Muslims in France to run non-Muslims over "with your cars."[14]

The attack has been described as one of a series of terror attacks on French soil,[9][15][16][17][18][19][20][6][7] as a contemporary example of vehicle ramming as a terrorism tactic,[21][22][23][24][25] and as one of the many ISIS-inspired lone wolf terrorist attacks worldwide.[26][27][9]

Impact[edit]

In what the New York Times described as an effort "to reassure a jittery nation" government deployed 300 troops onto French streets "to guard against copycat attacks inspired by" the 20 December 2014 Tours police station stabbing, this attack on 21 December, and the 22 December 2014 Nantes attack on the city's Christmas market in which ten people were injured and one was killed.[28][6][2][29][30] According to Public Radio International, these three attacks "prompted the French government to step up security at police and fire stations across the country."[31] According to Le Monde, following the series of three attacks police were ordered keep their weapons constantly within reach, even when inside their stations, and to wear their protective vests.[2]

In addition to these immediate responses by the French government, according to CNN security analyst Peter Bergen writing in 2016, this attack was one of a number of Vehicle-ramming attacks that forced police in a number of countries to reconsider methods of protecting crowded public spaces.[25]

According to The Times, this series of three attacks (Dijon, Nantes, Tours) caused Whitehall to move protective measures against "lone volatile extremist(s)" intent on committing vehicle ramming attacks "to the top of the agenda," with a list of recommended measures including bollards, building design, and standards to insure that concrete sets properly.[32]

Manuel Valls, the Prime Minister of France, expressed his "solidarity" with the victims of the attack via Twitter.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "France Dijon: Driver targets city pedestrians". BBC News. 21 December 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c France, Charles (24 December 2014). "France orders troops on streets to halt lone-wolf terror attacks". Times (London). Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  3. ^ "France attack: Van driven into shoppers in Nantes". BBC. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  4. ^ Mazzetti, Mark (17 July 2016). "In the Age of ISIS, Who's a Terrorist, and Who's Simply Deranged?". New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Corner, Emily (January 2017). "Is There a Nexus Between Terrorist Involvement and Mental Health in the Age of the Islamic State?". CTC Sentinel. 10 (1): 1. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Breeden, Aurelien (23 December 2014). "France Puts More Troops on Streets After a String of Attacks". New York Times. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Lichfield, John (23 December 2014). "France 'terrorism': Three 'lone wolf' attacks in three days – so should the country be worried?". The Independent. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  8. ^ "Establishment fears Le Pen will be victor of France's new war". The Times. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c d Jones, Sam (15 July 2016). "France emerges as main focus for terrorists". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 October 2017. 
  10. ^ Martin, Patrick (15 July 2016). "History of lone-wolf vehicle attacks suggests risk of emulation is very real". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 
  11. ^ Rapoport, David (2016). "Why Has The Islamic State Changed its Strategy and Mounted the Paris-Brussels Attacks?". Perspectives on Terrorism; Terrorism Research Initiative; University of Leiden. 10 (2). Retrieved 18 October 2017. 
  12. ^ Salazar, Philippe-Joseph (2017). Words Are Weapons: Inside ISIS’s Rhetoric of Terror. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300231512. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  13. ^ Silinsky, Mark (2016). Jihad and the West: Black Flag over Babylon. Indiana University Press. p. 153. ISBN 0253027209. .
  14. ^ Deliso, Christopher (May 2017). Migration, Terrorism, and the Future of a Divided Europe: A Continent Transformed. ABC-CLIO. p. 75. ISBN 1440855250. 
  15. ^ Deliso, Christopher (2017). Migration, Terrorism, and the Future of a Divided Europe: A Continent Transformed. ABC-CLIO. p. 75. ISBN 1440855250. 
  16. ^ "A timeline of recent mass attacks in France". Deutsche Welle. 15 July 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  17. ^ Michaels, Jim (15 July 2016). "Nice attack part of emerging DIY-style terrorism trend". USA Today. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  18. ^ "IS Urged Vehicle-Ramming Attacks In 2014". Sky News. 15 July 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  19. ^ "Terror Attack by Truck Scenario Long Feared by Law Enforcement". KTLA. CNN wire. 15 July 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  20. ^ Jamieson, Alastair (20 December 2016). "News Berlin Truck Attack Dec 20 2016, 9:27 am ET Truck Attacks: Low-Tech, Soft Target Terrorism Is Growing Threat". NBC News. Retrieved 16 February 2017. 
  21. ^ "Vehicles becoming weapon of choice for extremists: A timeline of recent attacks". CBC News. 22 March 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  22. ^ Peritz, Avi (21 December 2016). "Vehicle Attacks Like Berlin's Are Nothing New, And Are Likely To Continue". National Public Radio. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  23. ^ "Motorised weapons How terrorists have used vehicles". DailyTelegraph. 8 April 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  24. ^ Callimachi, Rukmini (18 July 2016). "Potent tools of death, on roads worldwide: A mainstay of commerce becomes a weapon in the attack in France". New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  25. ^ a b Bergen, Peter (15 July 2016). "Truck attacks -- a frightening tool of terror, with a history". CNN. Retrieved 17 October 2017. 
  26. ^ Yourish, Karen (22 March 2016). "Where ISIS Has Directed and Inspired Attacks Around the World". New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  27. ^ Coughlin, Tom (16 July 2016). "Chilling Isis video on how to turn cars into 'mowing machines'". The Times (of London). Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  28. ^ "France to deploy soldiers after spate of attacks". BBC News. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  29. ^ "France steps up patrols after spate of lone-wolf attacks". Reuters. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  30. ^ Willsher, Kim (24 December 2014). "France plans to beef up security after series of attacks". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  31. ^ Leveille, David (22 December 2014). "France endures deadly attacks, but can't decide if they're terrorism". Public Radio International. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  32. ^ Evans, Michael (24 December 2014). "Britain on alert over hit-and-run terrorists". The Times. Retrieved 17 October 2017.