August 20 2016: Child suicide bomber crashes Kurd wedding kills 57

They often say there is no honour among thieves: the same goes for terrorists.

Terrorists have a lot of needs. OK, I suppose we all do, but terrorists’ needs are special. They cannot be terrorists without a few prime items, to include:

  • A cause (usually political in nature);
  • A group of people to educate, support and, if necessary, goad them into action (there really is no such thing as a ‘lone wolf’);
  • Some kind of logistics network (guns, explosives, travel docs, etc.); and
  • An environment in which to act freely, or mostly freely

This last one allows terrorists to recruit new members, spread ideology and know-how, and plan attacks. Having the confidence that no one is going to report you to the local law enforcement (or security intelligence/military forces) probably lets you sleep better at night.

One such environment is (or rather was) Gaziantep.

This Turkish border town gained fame in the mid-2000s as THE place to go for wannabe jihadis seeking to get into Syria and/or Iraq. In other words, it was the gateway to the so-called ‘Caliphate’ of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group. Many Westerners, including Canadians, made their way there to arrive at their version of the ‘perfect’ Islamic society (if ‘perfect’ means mass rapes and killings).

One would suspect, then, that terrorist groups like ISIS would not want to attack Gaziantep which was, for all intents and purposes, their golden goose for newbies. They say an animal does not shit in its nest: well ISIS shat in theirs in 2016.

On this day in 2016

On August 20th of that year a suicide bomber attacked a wedding in the town, killing 57 people, including children, and wounding almost 100 more. The suicide bomber himself is believed to have been aged 12-14. Just a kid. The bomb went off in a part of town popular with students and which has a large Kurdish community.

The celebrations were coming to an end and there was a big explosion among people dancing. There was blood and body parts everywhere.

Maybe it was because there were lots of Kurds there (ISIS hates Kurds). Maybe it was because there was lots of dancing (ISIS hates dancing). Maybe it was because there were people there (ISIS hates people).

Then again, maybe it was just because that is what ISIS does. Even if its act is the equivalent of cutting off its own nose to spite its face.

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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