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October Today in Terrorism

October 21, 2007: PKK executes sophisticated attack on Turkish soldiers

On October 21, 2007 PKK terrorists killed at least 17 Turkish soldiers and wounded 16 others near Turkey’s border with Iraq.

HAKKARI PROVINCE, TURKEY – Some terrorists, not most, are sophisticated, planning acts in advance.

When I worked in counter terrorism for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) it never ceased to amaze me how stupid most terrorists are. They come up with grandiose plans that have next to zero chance of succeeding but somehow this lack of viability does not seem to bother them.

I came across plans to enter Parliament, behead the Speaker and declare the establishment of a Caliphate in Canada. A plot to attack a major naval base. Aspirations to blow up a nuclear power plant. All dreams and fantasies with zero chance of pulling off.

‘Don’t worry, I’ll get it!!’ (Photo: Film4 Productions)

This is of course not to suggest that lots of attacks, even those carried out by really dumb terrorists (see latest Top Ten), are not still lethal. Even an idiot can kill people.

But on occasion we come across an incident which demonstrates a level of sophistication that is rare. And bloody.

On this day in 2007

Terrorists from the PKK (the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê or Kurdistan Workers’ Party) killed at least 17 Turkish soldiers and wounded 16 others near Turkey‘s border with Iraq. There were reports that eight soldiers were seized by the group as well.

 We will continue on our path of determination in fighting the terrorist organization. We respect Iraq’s national borders. But [we] will not tolerate those who help and harbor terrorists.

Turkish President Gul

Here is where it gets interesting. The PKK had also blown up a a bridge to prevent reinforcements thirty minutes before the attack using 15 kilograms of explosives, cutting off the main route. This shows foresight and initiative and planning.

Let’s hope most terrorists continue to be stupid.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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