Stabbing as a terrorist tactic
Stabbing attacks became an increasingly common form of terrorist attack on random civilians in the 2010s.
Like the vehicle-ramming attacks that increased during the same time period, stabbing attacks are prevalent because attackers can easily obtain knives and other stabbing instruments.
Causes propelling the rise of the tactic
Incitement by terrorist groups
In May 2016, Al-Qaeda's Inspire published an article entitled. “O Knife Revolution, Head Toward America.” The magazine urged Muslims to kill “the intelligentsia, economic and influential personalities of America,” by low-tech methods including stabbing attacks on the grounds that such assaults are “easy options that do not require huge efforts or man power, but the result is parallel to the big operations or even more.”
In October 2016, Rumiyah, the online propaganda and recruitment magazine published by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) told followers that holy warriors down through Muslim history have “struck the necks of the kuffar” in the name of Allah, with "swords, severing limbs and piercing the fleshy meat of those who opposed Islam.” The magazine advised its readers that knives are easy to obtain, easy to hide, and deadly, and that they make good weapons in places where Muslims might be regarded with suspicion.
A wave of lone wolf terrorist stabbing attacks in which Palestinian Arabs attacked Israelis began on 3 October 2015 with the first of the Lions' Gate stabbings. The ensuing 2015–2016 wave of violence in Israeli-Palestinian conflict is thought to have been driven not by formal organizations but, rather by social media postings inspiring young Palestinians to undertake attacks with knives and with vehicles. In response, Israeli police have revamped their anti-terrorism tactics, increasing monitoring of social media, improving the intercommunication of mobile devices, and giving security agencies the ability to instantly trace phone calls made from such devices.
The series of Palestinian stabbing attacks were followed by the spread of such attacks during the wave of Islamic terrorism in Europe (2014–present) which had seen "at least" 10 stabbing attacks allegedly motivated by Islamic extremism in Europe by the spring of 2017, with a particular concentration of such attacks in France. A number of cases have also occurred in the United States during this period, including the St. Cloud, Minnesota, mall stabbing and the Ohio State University attack.
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