Manchester attack another horrific test for people of Europe

EDITORIAL

The murder of children and young people at a concert in Manchester is an atrocity with extra horror that casts a further dark shadow over peaceful gatherings of innocent people.

The death toll stood at 22 this morning, with the youngest victim identified so far only eight.

Prime Minister Theresa May has raised the UK terror alert to critical, indicating the government believes further attacks are imminent. The armed forces are being deployed at big events such as this weekend’s FA Cup final.

It is only the third time the UK terror level has been raised to critical. The last was in 2008.

There is bitter irony that the young man identified as the perpetrator, Salman Abedi, benefited from British largesse when his family was given sanctuary after fleeing the Gadaffi regime in Libya. The 22-year-old was born in Manchester, went to school there, and has three brothers — although there are reports the rest of the family had returned to Libya. ISIS has claimed him as a “soldier”.

Part of the major investigation now under way is to determine if others were involved in the suicide bombing, in which a homemade device was used to create havoc and was timed just as the concert ended. A 23-year-old man has reportedly been arrested in connection with the bombing.

This is not the most serious recent attack in Europe — 130 people died in the Paris shootings in 2015, including 89 at a concert at the Bataclan theatre — but it is becoming a pattern. The terrorists have found that the mass murder of innocents in crowds, like when a truck mowed down pedestrians in Nice on Bastille Day last year, leaving 86 people dead, have the greatest impact for them and are the most difficult to prevent.

The aim of the twisted fanatics, who have lost most of their so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria, is to create fear, provoke hatred and military responses, and rally more disaffected young Muslims to their cause.

It creates a huge test for the civilian populations of Europe but it is one, the British in particular, have risen to in the past and which will not defeat them.

The murder of children and young people at a concert in Manchester is an atrocity with extra horror that casts a further dark shadow over peaceful gatherings of innocent people.

The death toll stood at 22 this morning, with the youngest victim identified so far only eight.

Prime Minister Theresa May has raised the UK terror alert to critical, indicating the government believes further attacks are imminent. The armed forces are being deployed at big events such as this weekend’s FA Cup final.

It is only the third time the UK terror level has been raised to critical. The last was in 2008.

There is bitter irony that the young man identified as the perpetrator, Salman Abedi, benefited from British largesse when his family was given sanctuary after fleeing the Gadaffi regime in Libya. The 22-year-old was born in Manchester, went to school there, and has three brothers — although there are reports the rest of the family had returned to Libya. ISIS has claimed him as a “soldier”.

Part of the major investigation now under way is to determine if others were involved in the suicide bombing, in which a homemade device was used to create havoc and was timed just as the concert ended. A 23-year-old man has reportedly been arrested in connection with the bombing.

This is not the most serious recent attack in Europe — 130 people died in the Paris shootings in 2015, including 89 at a concert at the Bataclan theatre — but it is becoming a pattern. The terrorists have found that the mass murder of innocents in crowds, like when a truck mowed down pedestrians in Nice on Bastille Day last year, leaving 86 people dead, have the greatest impact for them and are the most difficult to prevent.

The aim of the twisted fanatics, who have lost most of their so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria, is to create fear, provoke hatred and military responses, and rally more disaffected young Muslims to their cause.

It creates a huge test for the civilian populations of Europe but it is one, the British in particular, have risen to in the past and which will not defeat them.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you have a better understanding of the first encounters here between Maori and Europeans after the Tuia 250 Ki Turanga commemorations?