How vehicles became the new weapon of terror

In 2016 a truck was ploughed into a crowd in Nice killing 86 people

Vehicles have been used in a number of attacks over the past year. Credit: Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters
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The use of vehicles in terror attacks had been encouraged by ISIL since 2016, when the group published an article suggesting that killers hire vans to perform their atrocities. Last year Mohammed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel carried out an attack in Nice in July which resulted in 86 deaths and more than 450 injuries.

He had hired a white 19 tonne Renault Midlum cargo truck and ploughed through crowds of people celebrating the French national holiday Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais.

In March this year Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old Briton, drove a car into pedestrians on the pavement along the south side of Westminster Bridge injuring more than 50 people, four of them fatally. After crashing the car Masood ran into the grounds of the Palace of Westminster and fatally stabbed a policeman there, before being shot dead.

And in June, just before the British general election, a gang of three men acting in the name of ISIL mowed down dozens of people on London Bridge on a Saturday night before embarking on a rampage of violence across the area, eventually resulting in the deaths of eight people.

At the weekend this new terror strategy appeared to have spread to the United States. A young white nationalist, James Alex Fields Jr, rammed into a crowd of anti-fascist activists in Charlottesville, Virginia, who were protesting a far-right gathering. He killed one woman, Heather Heyer, and injured at least 19 others.


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