Manchester Attack Fits Pattern of Targeting Crowded Areas
(New York, NY) – The suicide attack that claimed the lives of at least 22 people outside the Manchester Arena following an Ariana Grande concert on May 22 fits a pattern of terrorists targeting crowded areas to maximize civilian casualties, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) said today.
British police say the assailant, 22-year-old Salman Abedi, blew himself up outside the arena as thousands of concertgoers—including teenagers and children—were leaving. The attack was the deadliest in the United Kingdom since the 7/7 bombings in 2005. Claiming the attack on May 23, ISIS said that one of its “soldiers of the caliphate” had placed bombs in a “gathering of crusaders” in Manchester. ISIS and al-Qaeda have long encouraged their supporters to target crowded areas in the West in an effort to maximize civilian casualties.
CEP’s report, Terror Targets in the West: Where and Why, includes detailed case studies of past attacks by al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as each group’s justification for choosing targets, which have included transportation systems and public spaces, cartoonists, law enforcement personnel, and military installations and personnel. CEP’s report, United Kingdom: Extremism and Counter-Extremism, includes descriptions of extremist and terrorist movements, domestic and international counter-extremism initiatives, and the phenomena of radicalization and foreign fighters.