Terrorism seems certain:
Hundreds of shocked holidaymakers were in the area at the time, and witnesses said some of them removed gas cylinders from the jeep before it caught fire.
There are reports the occupants – described as Asian males – were trying to pour petrol on the flames.
Scott Gleeson said he saw the jeep speed up and swerve towards the terminal at an angle to hit the door.
“They were obviously trying to get through to cause as much damage as possible,” he said.
Holidaymaker Stephen Clarkson said he knocked one of the men to the floor before police intervened.
He said: “There was an Asian male. He was lying on the floor and he was on fire, the Jeep was on fire as well.
“The fellow got up and started fighting with police. I managed to knock the Asian fellow to the ground and four police officers got on top of him.”
He added: “His whole body was on fire. He was quite a big fellow and was disorientated otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to knock him down.”
What next? Is this a coordinated series of attacks that will span days or weeks? Will we see similar attacks, in the near term, outside of the UK? Is this recent activity tied to early June’s al Qaeda/Taliban training camp graduation? The situation doesn’t look good:
“One has to conclude … these are linked,” Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, former head of Britain’s joint intelligence committee, told Sky News. “This is a very young government, and we may yet see further attacks.”
The good news here is that the forces behind this wave apparently have limited resources. These are not impressive devices or methods. The bad news is that DIY low-grade terrorism is even more difficult to detect or prevent. You can keep terrorists out of commercial airline cockpits. You can’t keep them from acquiring Jeeps and petrol. These resource-limited attacks probably say something about post-9/11 security efforts but the long-term trends are actually in the terrorist’s favor.
The most surprising part of this story, and I’m including the unexploded cars in London, is that it’s obvious that people are still shocked by this. As if it’s truly unexpected when it most certainly shouldn’t be. Brace yourselves because, details of these recent events aside, the situation in Europe is going to degrade significantly over the next decade and beyond – think Israel or even Baghdad.