October 16, 2016: Stabbing in Hamburg

ISIS claimed responsibility for an October 2016 stabbing in Hamburg, Germany in which a 16-year-old boy was killed.

HAMBURG, GERMANY – Terrorists groups sometimes claim attacks they were not behind.

Spare a moment for terrorists. You wake up every day with one thing, and one thing only on your mind: whom do I kill today? I suppose there are other considerations as well. Where do I do it (mall, football stadium, outdoor cafe)? How do I do it (stabbing, suicide bomb, IED)? How do I advertise it?

It is said that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. Terrorist groups thrive on attention as their acts are by definition carried out to make waves. They seek to sow fear and terror after all.

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What if no one is watching? I just had my nails done!

This need for constant reaction may go some way to explaining why we sometimes see multiple claims for the same act by multiple groups. It is also seen on those occasions where a group says that one of its members was behind an attack when in all likelihood it was not.

On this day in 2016, a man believed to be in his mid-20s approached two teenagers and pushed a 15-year-old girl into the water and repeatedly stabbed a 16-year old boy, who later died of his injuries. Islamic State (ISIS) used its news agency to issue a statement declaring that one of its “soldiers” had done the deed but German authorities were skeptical as the group said two people were stabbed rather than one.

In the end the Germans concluded that ISIS was likely not behind the murder. Not that this brings the 16-year-old back to life. But it does show the importance for organisations such as ISIS to remain top of the news. Even if it was nowhere near the event.

Phil Gurski

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