About 300 police officers and gendarmes were deployed to the streets today ahead of the annual Catholic pilgrimage this weekend, a major religious event which draws thousands of worshippers to the town each year.
Béatrice Lagarde, the local prefect, said: “The terrorist threat remains high in France. And even though Lourdes has never been targeted by radical Islamists, a terrorist attack is a possibility we cannot ignore.”
A couple of days ago, I saw TV footage of the outspoken Labour MP Jess Phillips on the campaign trail, seeking re-election in her suburban Birmingham constituency.
She was asked which issues voters mentioned most often on the doorstep. Ms Phillips did not miss a beat.
‘Immigration comes up…’ she said thoughtfully. And then, as if remembering herself, she started talking about bin collections instead.
It was, I thought, an enormously revealing moment. For there is no issue so potentially dangerous as immigration. Many people have intense feelings about it, and many feel unable to raise them publicly.
Even in private, self-consciously tolerant people discuss immigration very tentatively, if at all.
Since 2005, every nuclear power station in the UK has had armed protection – the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. But why does such security exist, and what does the job entail?
“In the years after the 9/11 attacks in America, a decision was taken in the UK to increase security at British facilities. The old force, the Atomic Energy Authority Constabulary – which was established in 1955 and which did not protect power stations – was replaced in 2005 by the CNC. It stations armed officers at all non-military nuclear sites, a level of protection that hadn’t been present before.”
Is there an aspect of civil society not burdened by the weight of costs imposed upon it by Islam’s presence?
GERAARDSBERGEN, Belgium—The rising threat of well-armed Islamic terrorists in Europe is forcing police forces here to consider adopting American-style tactics in a mass-shooting scenario.
Belgian law enforcement has long focused on the judicious use of force, using nonlethal rounds to disable fleeing suspects like Salah Abdeslam, an accused assailant in the Paris attacks who was shot in the leg during a house raid in March. Shooting in such scenarios wasn’t meant to kill suspects, according to Belgian officials.
Police forces are now working with U.S. law enforcement to draw on lessons painfully learned in America, where officers are trained to enter quickly—with whatever they have on hand—to take down a shooter as quickly as possible.
“It is a whole new ballgame for the Belgian police,” said Geert Luypaert, the chief of police in the town of Heusden-Zolder. “There are not a lot of guns here. But the bad people always get the guns, so we need to teach our people.”
A round up of ongoing Muslim terror trials in Germany…
‘Stealing for Jihad’
A group of eight men between the ages of 24 and 36 are on trial in Cologne for allegedly breaking into churches, schools and other facilities and stealing more than 19,000 euros ($21,000). The men wanted to fund individuals who were “fighting people with faiths different from their Salafist beliefs [to] overthrow the government in Damascus and replace it with an Islamist theocracy,” according to the court. Or, as the judge put it succinctly: they were “stealing for Jihad.”
One of the accused was identified by the prosecution as a radical in a YouTube video. In the clip, the prosecution says, the suspect is seen condemning Muslims that “sit among the infidels” doing nothing while the Muslim community suffers as “dirty hypocrites.” The men were arrested after a police raid in November 2014. The trial began in October 2015 and is ongoing.
Churches should have a ‘bouncer’ on the door throughout services to improve security, new counter terrorism advice suggests, as an expert has warned small parish churches are more at risk of attack that larger places of worship.
New guidance issued after the murder of a French priest by Islamic State supporters advises churches should fit CCTV and personal attack alarms.
The risk of a terrorist attack on a church in Britain is believed to have increased since terrorists slit the throat of Father Jacques Hamel.
There are signs that Islamists are trying to join the German armed forces to get military training, and there is a risk they might use that training to carry out attacks in Germany or abroad, a German newspaper cited a draft document as saying.
Consequently, the armed forces want applicants to undergo a security check by the military counter-intelligence agency, starting in July 2017, so they can swiftly spot extremists, terrorists and criminals, Welt am Sonntag newspaper said in an article due to be published on Sunday.
Such security screening would require changes in the laws governing the military. A draft document justifying such changes, seen by Welt am Sonntag, said there are indications that Islamists are trying to get “so-called short-term servicemen into the armed forces” for training.