August 18, 2017: Knifeman targets women in Turku knife terror attack

On this day in 2017, two were killed and six wounded by a Moroccan Islamist terrorist in the southwest Finnish city of Turku.

You know you have worldwide reach when you can carry out a terrorist attack in… Finland.

TURKU, FINLAND — When you study and follow terrorism as often as I do, the countries that keep coming up in your news feeds are depressingly the same. Afghanistan. Iraq. Somalia, Yemen. Nigeria. Day. After day. After day.

There are of course reasons for this frequency. First, Islamist extremism is, no matter what the ‘experts’ tell you, still the number one terrorism threat worldwide, much as it has been for the last forty years (if not longer). Second, those countries where Muslims have a large presence are, by definition, more prone to these kinds of attacks. Thirdly, if your country attacks (and occupies) a Muslim land, get ready for retaliation. It really is not that complicated.

Fourthly, a lot of places on our planet do NOT see a lot of terrorism because they do not feature prominently in the above. criteria Another attractant, I suppose, is living in a country that is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as inimical to Islam.

Then there is Finland

I don’t know a lot about Finland, having been there briefly only once late last year. They are good at hockey, but then again as a Canadian I would notice that. But a terrorism target? I would not have thought so.

And yet on this day in 2017 an Islamist extremist stabbed two people to death in Turku, and wounded six others. Finnish police said the knifeman appeared to choose women as targets.

The act had been investigated as murder, but during the night we received additional information which indicates that the criminal offences are now terrorist killings.

The assailant, who was shot and wounded by police, was an 18-year old Moroccan. In June 2018, the District Court of South-West Finland found him guilty on two counts of murder with terrorist intent and eight counts of attempted murder with terrorist intent, and sentenced him to life in prison, the first time that a crime in Finland has been legally classified as terrorism.

So there you go, Finland as a terrorist target. Go figure.

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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