And in the rest of the world: Terrorist attacks

May 28, 2017 11.00AM |

They say that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. And recently, that statement played out all over the world, especially in Europe and Asia. At home, security at upcoming events has been ramped up amid fears of terror threats. Earlier this year, the terror threat in Singapore rose for the first time in over a decade – from negligible to low – due to the increase in “lone wolf” attacks worldwide.

Manchester’s incident gripped the front pages, but what about the rest of the world? We look at the other terror attacks that have happened in the past week:

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1. Cairo, Egypt: Gunmen open fire at a bus

Church of St George in Cairo’s Coptic sector. Image by Flickr user Edgardo W. Olivera. CC BY 2.0

Eight to ten gunmen fired indiscriminately at a bus carrying Coptic christians outside Minya, south of Cairo. At least 28 people were killed in the attack on Friday (May 26), children aged two and four were among the victims. The bus was travelling to the monastery of Saint Samuel, carrying worshipers to the holy site. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. Coptic Christians have been targeted by ISIS several times in recent years.

In a broadcast on Friday, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said that: “Egypt will not hesitate at all to strike terrorist camps anywhere.” Shortly after the broadcast, Egypt responded to the attacks by launching airstrikes against camps where the terrorists responsible for the attack are believed to have been trained. Following the twin attacks on Coptic churches on Palm Sunday last month that killed at least 45 people, Egypt is still under a three month state of emergency. Pope Francis showed his support during a visit to Egypt last month, paying tribute to the victims of a church attack in Cairo last year. ISIS responded by vowing to escalate attacks against Christians.

People in Minya have taken to the streets in response to Friday’s attacks. Minya has one of the largest concentrations of Coptic Christians in Egypt, but the minority group has been a target of increasing violence since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011.


2. Bangkok, Thailand: Bomb in military hospital

Image by Wikimedia Commons user TakeawayCC BY-SA 3.0.

Over 20 were injured after a small bomb exploded in a military hospital in the Thai capital. Eight people were hospitalised due to injuries from the blast, which happened in a waiting room near a pharmacy.

The attack coincided with the third anniversary of the 2014 coup by the military. Investigations are still ongoing and no one has claimed responsibility. But there are suspicions that the act is in protest of the military rule. The week before, another bomb had gone off near the royal palace, amid preparations for the royal king’s birthday.

Thailand will go to the polls by the end of next year, albeit under a new Constitution drafted by the military, which only allows for a limited democracy.


3. Marawi City, Philippines: ISIS-linked militants turned city into warzone

Image from the Presidential Communications Operations Office by Wikimedia Commons user Pitpisit.

Clashes broke out on Tuesday (May 23) between security personnel and local terrorist groups in Marawi City, a predominantly Muslim city on the southern island of Mindanao.

It all started when a joint force between the military and the police raided a house that was believed to be the hideout of Isnilon Hapilon of the Abu Sayyaf jihadist group, which is notoriously known for ransom kidnapping. Hapilon has reportedly been designated the leader of ISIS in Southeast Asia. Another terrorist group that is involved is Maute, formerly known as Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The shootout prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to cut short his trip to Russia upon declaring martial law in Mindanao.

The situation continued to worsen as the terrorists torched a church, a jail, a hospital and several schools. They also took hostage of teachers, a priest, and about a dozen parishioners. The following day, residents fled the city in droves, while the military sent in reinforcements. On Thursday (May 25), surgical airstrikes were launched to flush out remaining militants.

The military reported on Friday (May 26) that they were gaining headway, having rescued more than 150 civilians trapped in houses and buildings, and recovered many villages previously occupied by terrorists.

As of Friday, 31 militants and 13 government troopers have been killed.


4. Homs, Syria: Car bombs in Homs city

Image by Flickr user Taras Kalapun.

Just two days after the Syrian government regained control over Homs, the city was attacked by a car bomb on Tuesday (May 23). According to the city’s health authority, four were killed and 32 were injured. Police also found another vehicle that was rigged with explosives near a Shi’ite mosque south of the capital Damascus.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes on the heels of recent victories of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Last Sunday (May 20), hundreds of Syrian rebels and their families evacuated Homs, bringing it back to government control for the first time since 2011.

Meanwhile the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitor, reported that US-led coalition strikes in eastern Syria have killed at least 35 civilians in the same week.


5. Jakarta, Indonesia: Suicide bombings at bus station

Image by Wikimedia Commons user Uwe Aranas.

A pair of suicide bombers attacked a bus station in Jakarta, Indonesia on May 24 this year. According to the police, at least three police officers were killed and six other officers and five civilians were injured. Aluminium, nails, buckshot and receipts were also discovered at the scene of the explosion. ISIS involvement in the bombing is suspected.

ISIS has been claiming responsibility for terror attacks in Indonesia. Last year, ISIS said it carried out a suicide bombing and shooting near a Starbucks in Jakarta which killed two people and wounded another 24.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country. In light of alarming ISIS attempts to recruit members within the country, Indonesia has been actively fighting against radical extremism.

Featured image by Flickr user Erlend Schei. CC BY-ND 2.0

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