From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nothing much
Mains level : Tackling terrorism comprehensively
The knife attack near London Bridge that killed two and injured three others is another reminder of the threat lone-wolf assaults pose to public security.
- The attacker was born in the U.K. to immigrants from Pakistan-held Kashmir. He was a convicted terrorist.
- He was released in December 2018 with conditions after serving half his jail term.
- He was attending a prisoner rehabilitation program. Wearing a fake explosive vest, he first threatened to blow up the building and then went on a killing spree.
- This is the latest in a series of terror attacks the U.K has seen in recent years.
- In 2017, terrorists had rammed a van into pedestrians on the Bridge and stabbed people in nearby bars and restaurants.
- In the same year, a van ran into pedestrians outside a London mosque and a suicide bomber killed 22 concert-goers in Manchester.
- Islamic State has claimed responsibility for this attack.
Issues underlying the attack
- Radicalization is the primary problem.
- It also points to security, intelligence, and systemic failures.
- The British intelligence is often credited for foiling dozens of terrorist attacks since the 2005 London train bombings that killed 56.
- But less sophisticated, less coordinated, often lone-wolf attacks are on the rise.
- The attacker who was convicted in 2012 for being part of an al-Qaeda-linked plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange was sentenced under the imprisonment for public protection (IPP) program. It allowed the authorities to keep him, or convicts considered a threat to the public, in prison indefinitely.
- Under the automatic early release scheme, he was freed in 2018 with an electronic tag and supposed to be monitored. But the police still could not prevent the knife attack.
- This demands to make policing more efficient and reviewing the early release scheme.
- What is needed is a good counter-terror plan to tackle both extremisms among youth and prevent lone-wolf attacks that often go undetected.
- State agencies need to work with civil society groups as well as community leaders and have deradicalization programs.