THREE ATTACKS IN THREE HOURS ON THREE CONTINENTS ALL WITH POSSIBLE ISLAMIC STATE CONNECTIONS.
In France, A delivery man who had once been under surveillance by the French authorities for connections to radical Islamist groups drove into an American-owned chemical plant where he worked, near the southeastern city of Lyon on Friday morning, decapitated his employer and set off an explosion in what the French authorities characterized as a terrorist attack. The suspect, now in custody along with family members, was identified as Yassine Salhi, ellegedly beheaded his boss, stuck the head in a gate along with two Islamic flags. Mr. Salhi was under surveillance in the past for toes to radical Salafists, but surveillance on him was dropped in 2008. The reason was not immediately clear, but French intelligence officials have been overwhelmed in recent years as they try to keep tabs on hundreds of young Muslims who have gone abroad to fight jihad with the Islamic State.
In Tunisia, at least one gunman disguised as a vacationer attacked a placid seaside resort in Tunisia on Friday, killing at least 37 people at a beachfront hotel, many of them foreign tourists, before he was shot to death by security forces. Government officials and witnesses offered conflicting accounts of the assault, with some saying that two gunmen, who had possibly come ashore in a rubber dinghy, had ambushed tourists at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Sousse, which is popular with German vacationers. Others said that there was a single gunman but that the police were searching for possible accomplices. The BBC reported that “Tunisians, Britons, Germans, Belgians and at least one Irish citizen were among the dead.” The attack in Sousse comes just over three months after two gunmen killed 22 people — 21 of them foreign tourists, in a mass shooting at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis.
In Kuwait, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in one of the largest Shiite mosques in Kuwait City during Friday prayers. Local news reports said at least 25 people had been killed and 200 wounded in the assault, which was extraordinary for Kuwait and appeared to be a deliberate attempt to incite strife between Shiites and Sunnis.
“It appears to be an effort to launch and inspire a wave of attacks across three continents, reminiscent of Al Qaeda’s simultaneous multiple attacks of the past,” said Bruce O. Riedel, a former C.I.A. officer who is a counterterrorism expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
There was no immediate indication that the attacks had been coordinated. However, all the three strikes came at roughly the same time, and just days after the Islamic State, the militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL, called for such operations during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
“Muslims, embark and hasten toward jihad,” said Islamic State’s spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, in an audio message released this week. “O mujahedeen everywhere, rush and go to make Ramadan a month of disasters for the infidels.”
The assault in Kuwait was particularly worrisome. The tiny, wealthy oil exporter, Kuwait has been largely insulated from the mayhem in the region, and open tensions between Sunnis and Shiites are not common. This assault, however resembled others launched by the Islamic State recently on Shiite mosques in neighboring Saudi Arabia, prompting many to believe that the militant group is seeking to incite a sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is now reporting, that Islamic State has carried out their second- largest massacre since the declaration of its alleged “caliphate,” killing at least 146 civilians in the Syrian Kurdish city of Ayn al- Arab (Kobane) and its countryside. Reportedly, those killed include women, children and the elderly with an addition estimated 200 people injured in the attack. This brings the death toll of the Islamic State conducted or inspired attacks to over 200 in less than 24 hours on multiple continents.
These stories are still unfolding and investigations have only just begun, dead and injured are still unidentified and a clear connection to Islamic State in all of these attacks has not yet been established.