Monday, August 24, 2015

Europe Facing New Uncertainty in Terrorism Fight

French soldiers patrolled a train station in Paris on Saturday after Friday's thwarted train attack. CreditBinta/Associated Press
By ADAM NOSSITER, NYT
AUG. 23, 2015

PARIS — Two days after a young Moroccan man was thwarted from an apparent plan to cause carnage on a Paris-bound express train, European officials confronted the deepening quandary of what additional steps they could take in the face of such attacks on soft targets, short of paralyzing public spaces or even more intrusive surveillance.

Enhanced security and surveillance measures had already filtered out the young man, Ayoub El Khazzani, 26. But he was one of thousands of Europeans who had come on the radar of authorities as potential threats after traveling to Syria.

The sheer number of militant suspects combined with a widening field of potential targets have presented European officials with what they concede is a nearly insurmountable surveillance task. The scale of the challenge, security experts fear, may leave the Continent entering a new climate of uncertainty, with added risk attached to seemingly mundane endeavors, like taking a train.

Yet with all that the authorities already knew about him, he managed to board unhindered the heavily traveled Amsterdam-to-Paris high-speed train with a sack of weaponry, probably in Belgium, and was ready to inflict serious damage, with dozens of rounds of ammunition, an AK-47, an automatic pistol and a box cutter. If not for the fortuitous presence of three Americans, and the help of a British and a French passenger in the train car, many could have died.

(More here.)

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