Saturday, June 27, 2015

Air Products Attack Update – 6-27-15

We are still getting new, but sketchy information from the press about the attack on the Air Products plant in France yesterday. Most commentators are linking this attack with a suicide bombing attack on a mosque in Kuwait and an attack by two gunmen on tourists in Tunisia that also occurred yesterday. The Islamic State has apparently only taken credit for the suicide bombing.

News reports from the Washington Post and the Daily Mail both claim that yesterday’s attacker was a known delivery driver at the facility. The Post article is reporting that the French authorities are now saying that the attacker entered the facility normally and then accelerated into the building. Allowing a known delivery driver into a facility with minimal scrutiny is a fairly routine practice unless a facility is in a high-state of alert.

News reports continue to describe an explosion associated with this attack.  The Post article quotes a French official as saying:

“A security camera, he said, showed Salhi’s vehicle accelerating toward a covered shed, sparking an explosion. A part of the shed was destroyed in the explosion, the back of the vehicle was destroyed and the roof disintegrated.”

With the alleged explosion affecting the back of the vehicle rather than the front, it would seem that an explosive device of some kind was in the vehicle. If that was the case, it would have to have been small or only partially functioning since it appears that the driver was unharmed. Until someone describes the type of explosion or device, I am still reluctant to conclude that an actual explosive device was included in the attack. I still think that the ‘explosion’ was the sound of the truck hitting the metal sided building.

Both the Post and Fox News are commenting on the fact that the three attacks were taking place during the month of Ramadan (June 18th to July 17th this year) and noted that ISIS has called to make the month of Ramadan a time of "calamity for the infidels." 

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