Monday was a dark day for Europe. Within a span of hours, three acts of bloodshed were reported across the continent. Three men were shot in an Islamic center in Zurich. Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at an Ankara art gallery by a police officer who cried “don’t forget Syria!”A large truck plowed through a Christmas market in central Berlin killing 12 and injuring 48 others.
Zurich police have said that they are not treating the attack there as terrorism. But Russia was quick to condemn the assassination of its ambassador as a “terrorist attack,” and police in Berlin are now treating the carnage at the Christmas market as “presumed terrorism.” Such outbreaks of violence are no longer new in Europe. Here’s a rundown of major terrorist attacks over the past 13 months:
1. The string of stabbings in 2016. There have been at least 10 recorded stabbing attacks across Europe this year, all of which have allegedly been motivated by Islamist extremism. A police officer and his wife were killed in the French town of Magnanville in June by a 25-year-old man who had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Earlier, in January, a man wearing fake explosives attacked officers with a meat cleaver in a Paris police station while shouting “Allahu Akbar!”
2. Normandy church attack in July 2016. On July 26, two men stormed a French church and took five people hostage during morning Mass. They murdered an elderly priest, Jacques Hamel, by stabbing him in the chest and slitting his throat. President François Hollande later said that the men had carried out the attack in the name of ISIS. The hostages were later freed and the two men were arrested.
3. Nice truck attack in July 2016. On Bastille Day, France’s national day, a large truck deliberately plowed into a large celebration in the southern coastal city of Nice. At least 84 people were killed that night; hundreds more were injured. “There was carnage on the road,” eyewitness Wassim Bouhlel told the Associated Press. “Bodies everywhere.” The assailant, 31-year-old Tunisian national Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, was shot by police on the scene; it was later claimed that he had been “radicalized” by ISIS.
4. Brussels bombings in March 2016. On March 22, at least 34 people were killed and 190 wounded when three blasts shook Brussels: two at Zaventem airport and one at a subway station near the headquarters of the European Union. ISIS was quick to claim responsibility for the suicide attacks, which brought the city to a standstill.
5. Paris attacks in November 2015. It was the bloodiest attack in the Western world in years, one that President Hollande called an “act of war.” On the night of Nov. 13, a coordinated string of attacks — bombings and mass shootings — erupted at several venues across Paris, namely a soccer stadium and the Bataclan, a popular live music venue. Some 130 people were massacred, scores more were injured. ISIS took responsibility for the attacks and hailed them as “miracles.”
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