Truck Terror attack feared on 26/1 Republic day Parade of INDIA says Intelligence operatives

A terror strike involving a large vehicle driven by a lone jihadi—similar to the truck attacks in France and Germany that killed hundreds last year—is being feared by law enforcement officials. Counter-terrorism officials told The Sunday Standard that jihadists may use large trucks to inflict mass-casualties on crowds by ramming them into unsuspecting holiday makers or shoppers. 

This was revealed during the interrogation of suspected IS modules. “During the interrogation, IS recruits disclosed how they were inspired by the terror outfit’s Nice truck rampage and were planning to use vehicles as weapons for similar operations in India. On January 8, IS terrorists used a truck to kill four Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem. In December, a truck attack happened in Berlin. Palestinian militants in the past have used such tactics,” the official said. “We are not ruling out this high level, low capability method of attack and are making all necessary security arrangements to thwart any such attempts,” he said.

 Traffic police have also been put on high alert. New Delhi: Counter-terrorism officials said that agencies are stepping up security across the country, especially in major cities, and putting up several enforcement mechanisms in place. A latest intelligence input based on the arrested IS module reviewed by this newspaper revealed that radicalised youths were planning to target security officials and other personnel.

 Although, IS has not been able to gain much traction in India, the security agencies have arrested over 70 self-radicalised recruits in the last 2 years. The officials in the security establishments said there is higher level of operational planning that is required for such attack but could be executed by a small cell with the lone operator as it was evident in Nice and Israel attacks. The radicalised IS recruits are inspired by Al Qaeda modus operandi, which had published an article The Ultimate Mowing Machine in 2010 calling upon lone wolf’s to use a “pickup truck as a mowing machine, not to mow grass, but to mow down the enemies of Allah.” 

Al Qaeda article, which has been analysed by the security and counter-terror officials, further exhorted the attackers to “pick location and timing carefully and they must go for the most crowed locations, narrower spots are also better because it gives less chance for the people to run away.” Al Qaeda in its terror tutorials has told the cadres “this method would cause chaos and trauma among the public -a simple operation with great result.” After Nice attack IS had claimed that terrorist Mohamed Lahoualej Bouhlel was one its foot solders.  Bouhlel was driving a 19-ton Renault truck that plowed into a large crowd, killing 84 and injuring hundred others. 

“There is no doubt that Nice-type attack has uniqueness. A truck or any other vehicle is not designed to be a weapon so the challenge is much higher to secure against such threat. Is it impossible to stop similar type of attack? In some cases ‘yes’ it is tough to harden open venues but we have done it in the past and confident to do it whenever there is an alert.” “It is evident that many self-radicalised youth kept under close monitoring have grown disillusioned with the extremist ideology even IS is losing strongholds in Iraq and Syria. There are inputs that Pakistan-based outfits may also coordinate lone-wolf attacks ahead of republic day,” the official added.

 Battled-hardened jihadi’s from LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed may have stolen Afghan identities, the input has warned. Disguised as Afghan refugee, infiltration is being planned into India through legitimate route and thus avoiding no-fly lists. Top sources confirmed that some terrorists have fraudently acquired Afghan Passports using credible ID recently but refused to divulge the specifics whether they have been able to blend in the large number of Afghan refugee community living in the country.

The input has been passed on to the concerned agencies for vetting process as part of anti-terror operations that will look into the identity credentials of recently arrived Afghan refugees. “Credible ID theft is potent weapon for the terrorists like it happened in 9/11. This provides them freedom of movement and access to target locations while avoiding intelligence radar. We have mechanism in place to spot a fake ID and have increased level of security checks at the airports. We are confident to disrupt any suspicious module operating in the country,” sources said. P


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