Islamist Terrorist Conducts Bladed and Blunt Force Weapons Attack in Paris

Dec 4, 2023 | Islamist Terrorism, Threat Analysis

Author: Oliver Hair ASyI,
Threat Analyst

Read Time: 3 minutes 

On 02 December 2023, an Islamist terrorist conducted a marauding Bladed and Blunt Force Weapons attack in central Paris, using a knife and a hammer. There was one fatality, and two others, including a British tourist, were injured.[1] Prosecutor Jean-François Ricard said the alleged suspect had pledged allegiance to Islamic State prior to the attack and had previously served four years in prison in 2016 for plotting to conduct a separate attack.[2] The perpetrator reportedly told police after being arrested that he was upset because “so many Muslims are dying in Afghanistan and in Palestine” and suggested that France was complicit in the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza.[3] Investigations into the attack are ongoing.

Event Assessment

    • It is highly likely that Islamist terrorism remains the dominant terrorist threat in Western Europe and the UK at this time. The attack in Paris is the second to be conducted in France by Islamist terrorists in the past two months. On 13 October 2023, an individual conducted an Islamist-inspired Bladed Weapons attack at a school in northern France and killed a teacher. On 15 October 2023, France was put on its highest level of terrorism alert.[4]
      • It is highly likely that any Islamist terrorist attack conducted in the UK at this time would be conducted by a small cell or a lone individual using a low sophistication methodology. E.g., Bladed or Blunt Force Weapons, Vehicle as a Weapon, or Fire as a Weapon.
        • There is a realistic possibility that Islamist terrorists in the UK could have the capability to conduct a high sophistication attack at this time. However, police and security services have previously demonstrated the capability to disrupt high sophistication plots.
          • It is highly likely that any attack conducted by an Islamist terrorist in the UK at this time would target large crowds at publicly accessible locations due to their ideologically driven intent to target indiscriminate attacks against members of the public in the UK.
            • It is highly likely that the Israel-Hamas conflict will act as a driver of terrorism threat in the UK in the long term as there is the potential for individuals to draw inspiration and become radicalised towards violence from such events. On 17 October 2023, Director General of MI5 Ken McCallum warned that events in the Middle East could radicalise people towards violence in the UK.[5]
              • At this time, it is highly likely that the predominant threat posed by global Islamist terrorist groups (including Islamic State) to the UK mainland continues to be from the online radicalisation of vulnerable UK-based individuals with the intent to inspire low-sophistication attacks in the UK.
                  • E.g., on 24 November 2023, two brothers who admitted planning to travel to Afghanistan to join Islamic State Khorasan Province were jailed. Both individuals pleaded guilty to preparing acts of terrorism.[6]
                Intelligence Cut-Off Date: 04 December 2023

                  PHIA Scale

                  The “Probability Yardstick” (below) is a standardised instrument used to provide professional intelligence assessments. Judgements made using the yardstick are relative and reflect the analyst’s confidence in their findings and assessments.

                    • Almost Certain: An event is assessed to have a greater than 90% chance of occurring.
                    • Highly Likely: An event is assessed to have a 76% to 90% chance of occurring.
                    • Likely: An event is assessed to have a 55% to 75% chance of occurring.
                    • Realistic Possibility: An event is assessed to have a 40% to 54% chance of occurring.
                    • Unlikely: An event is assessed to have a 25% to 39% chance of occurring.
                    • Highly Unlikely: An event is assessed to have an 10% to 24% chance of occurring.
                    • Remote Chance: An event is assessed to have a less than 10% chance of occurring.

                    Time Spans

                      • Short Term: 0 – 6 Months.
                      • In the next 12 months.
                      • Medium Term: 12 months – 5 Years.
                      • Long Term: 5+ Years.

                  Author: Oliver Hair ASyI,
                  Threat Analyst

                  Read Time: 3 minutes

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