Westminster terror attack: Gardaí to review strategies and monitor jihadist sympathisers

Garda HQ will conduct a fresh review of security strategies after the London terrorist attack and are monitoring the reaction of a small number of jihadist sympathisers here.

The Garda Crime and Security Branch has conducted several reviews after previous attacks in France, Belgium, and Germany.

The repeat use of a vehicle to kill civilians — the third time in Western Europe since last June — will feature strongly in the review.

The use of a knife in the London attack to murder police officer Keith Palmer — inside the grounds of the British parliament — was an added feature of the use of a vehicle and will form part of the security review.

Sources said it was impossible to prevent someone using a truck or a 4x4 to kill people in crowded areas or streets. “We have been looking at that [use of a vehicle] for some time,” said one source. “It’s very, very difficult. Outside planned large-scale public events and certain places, what can you really do?”

He said they were alive to the possible use of a vehicle since a statement from an Islamic State spokesman in 2014 urging people to use knives, rocks and cars to kill.

A Department of Justice document, detailed by the Irish Examiner last November, highlighted the risk posed by use of these weapons.

It quoted Islamic State spokesman Mohammed Al-Adani: “If you kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian or Canadian, or any of the other disbelievers waging war [against us], including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah and kill them in any manner or way however it may be.

"Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife or run him over with your car.”

Security agencies across Europe are concerned that the more incidents involving the use of vehicles — and the impact and consequent mass media publicity — will encourage “copycat” acts.

The EU police agency, Europol, made this warning last November when it said the perceived success of such attacks “will encourage” more.

And European agencies are also concerned at the impact of the war against IS in Syria and Iraq and the return of foreign fighters, and greater calls from IS leaders for sympathisers to act at home.

The Department of Justice said experts had noted this call for “personal jihad and the encouragement of self-motivated attacks on Europe and the West”.

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