Expert: Lone-Wolf Islamist Terrorists in US Inspired by Palestinian Attacks in Israel


By BB Portnoy

Lone-wolf Islamist terrorists around the world — including in the US — are drawing inspiration from Palestinian attacks against Israelis, an international security consultant and political risk analyst told The Algemeiner on Sunday, a day after eight people were stabbed at a mall in Minnesota (for which ISIS claimed responsibility), and 29 people were wounded in a bomb blast in New York City.

“We are going to see a rise in mass stabbings and vehicle-rammings by those with Islamist leanings, because they see how effective such methods are in places like Israel and they want to mimic it,” Dr. Joshua Gleis, president of Gleis Security Consulting, predicted for The Algemeiner. “The bottom line is that people are learning from one another.”

The surge of Palestinian violence against Israelis that began a year ago has seen countless stabbing and car-ramming attacks. The latest of these, asreported by The Algemeiner, took place on Sunday morning, in a settlement south of Jerusalem.

Regarding Saturday’s mall attack in St. Cloud, Gleis said, “It was most likely homegrown. It’s not like somebody sent this guy over from Yemen to do it. It’s much more likely he was indoctrinated online, did very little training, if any at all, and went out to conduct the attack. Anybody can buy a knife.”

Gleis highlighted the tough security task this presents. “Those seeking to do us harm are trying to find ways to do so before they get caught,” he said. “And they understand that if they are part of a large plot, there is a much greater chance of getting caught.”

Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are taking the danger “very seriously,” Gleis said.

“The threat is evolving, and as a result, law enforcement is studying and learning to understand it,” he noted. “Law enforcement has actually been very good at thwarting many of these incidents, most of which don’t make the news. But, as the expression goes, the terrorists only have to be right once, while law enforcement has to be right every time.”

Referring to Saturday’s bombing in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, Gleis said, “The type of explosive that was used is a very common one. It is made from chemicals you can buy in a drug store. These are the easiest bombs to build and the hardest for law enforcement to find.”

In the short term, Gleis said, lone-wolf attacks in the US would likely not reach the “same scale or deadliness as we see in Europe now.” However, he cautioned, “That is something to be concerned about in the future.” And the more successful attacks there are, the more other would-be lone-wolves will be encouraged, increasing the likelihood of further attacks, Gleis said.

“Unfortunately, I think the trend is going to continue to rise, as long as people see such attacks as being effective,” he said.

In light of this threat, Gleis called for greater security vigilance. “I think it’s important that schools, houses of worship, organizations and companies take appropriate measures to help limit their exposure and mitigate their risk,” he concluded.

(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal