For the new terrorists the car is a weapon, and pedestrians are their target

The most abject and dangerous weapons are those of our everyday life. The images from the footage of Wednesday’s attack in Jerusalem actually threaten everybody.

There, you can see a small crowd exiting the train, among them there is a couple with a baby carriage, in which Chaya Zissel, a three-month-old baby girl, is living her last moments of life. Her mother is smoothing her skirt, her father is pushing the baby carriage. They both are very young as well.

Then, a moment later, a white car comes at full speed and rams into the passengers waiting on the crowded platform, killing Chaya and hurting seven other people. Nothing makes an attack more lethal than its normality, and what could be more normal than an approaching economy car?

Eli Dayan, one of the passengers who had just got off the tram, tells how he grabbed his son when he saw the white car coming, and dragged him away from the platform as two women were being ran over. “During the first Intifada, I used to warn my sons that they should avoid to take the bus. Then, after the terrorist attack of August 4, I told them to turn the other way whenever they saw an excavator, as several attacks have been carried out with caterpillars. That one overturned a bus and a car, killing one man and hurting five others. Now, I try to avoid bus and light-rail stops, and keep a watch over any approaching car”.

“What could I do?”, says a woman at the Givat Ha Tachmoshet stop in East Jerusalem, where the attack was carried out. “I am forced to take this train every morning to go to work, and wait here together with the others… I just can keep my fingers crossed, while keeping an eye on every car getting close. And jump if it is speeding”.

Patrice Vincent, the soldier hit and killed last Monday by a car in Montreal, didn’t think about that. Martin Couture-Rouleau, the newly converted Islamist who was at the wheel, wanted to join ISIS. And, in fact, the Islamic State glorified his martyrdom on the group’s website.

Also the terrorist who carried out the attack in Jerusalem has been glorified by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad: they have saluted Abed a-Rahman a-Shaludi with praise, the “martyr” who, like Vincent, lost his life. “The attack in Jerusalem is an act of heroism”, said Mushir al Masri, a senior Hamas spokesperson.

An encouragement to carry out more terrorist attacks by all available means that presents a sinister analogy with ISIS’ praise for its terroris and with the speech in which Abu Muhammad al Adnani, the spokesman for the Islamic State, said to his followers in the West: “If you are not able to find a bomb or a bullet… run them over with your car”. And Rouleau carried out these orders to the letter, aiming his car at two soldiers and running over them. Yet, the Canadian police had him under surveillance for five months, and had his passport withdrawn. But, clearly, it was not enough. Anyone can own a vehicle, and the next great trend of terrorism seems to suggest people to hit the gas and turn their car into a lethal weapon.

As a consequence, London and Rome could now become an outright battlefield like is Jerusalem nowadays, a city in which any pedestrian could be a target, and any driver an attacker. And it is right here that our mentality prevents us from understanding the point of view of terrorism: for various reasons, all the infidels – both those who are part of the coalition attacking ISIS in Iraq and Syria and those who are persecuting the Palestinians on a land that the Jihadists think should be owned by the Islamic Ummah – are enemies of the only desirable solution, that is a worldwide Islamization.

Their choice of everyday tools is the new strategy that allows the terror to move from the desert into our cities. Now, among the weapons within everyone’s reach, the one that looms as the most dangerous is the terrorist use of infective diseases. And a “shahid” carrying a deadly virus could really be an atomic bomb.

This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (October 24, 2014)

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.