ISIS commands its followers to attack anywhere they can this holiday season
Monday, December 19 was supposed to be noted in the history books as the day the Electoral College formally made Donald J. Trump our 45th president. That did happen, as anticipated—Democratic dreams of electors defecting in droves to overturn the ballot box proved wholly illusory—but that news was overshadowed by a series of brutal terrorist attacks that have shocked the world.
First, Ankara. Early on Monday evening, at an art gallery in a suburb of the Turkish capital, Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador, approached the podium to make a few words, only to be gunned down from behind with several shots fired by an off-duty Turkish policeman. A career diplomat who had served the Kremlin for four decades, including serving as Russia’s minister to Ankara since mid-2013, Karlov succumbed to his numerous wounds. His horrific end was caught in gripping footage which has taken the Internet by storm.
His killer, 22-year-old Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, a member of a police special unit, didn’t live much longer than his target, being killed by fellow policemen shortly after the assassination. There’s not much room for doubt about his motivation, since after gunning down the ambassador, Altıntaş proceeded to utter a stream of jihadist clichés in a mixture of Arabic and Turkish. There was the customary tekbir, the proclaiming of God’s greatness—Allahu akbar—followed by boasting that the shooting was payback for the fate of Aleppo, the long-besieged Syrian city now living under Russian bombs.
It’s too soon to say whether Altıntaş was a self-starting lone jihadist or he was acting under orders from a bona fide terrorist organization, but his crime certainly appears to be the terrorist act which the Kremlin has stated it is. The Islamic State claimed the attack as their own, as is their wont whenever anything that appears remotely jihad-linked happens anywhere these days—and Turkey is unquestionably crawling with large numbers of ISIS-connected jihadists. Thanks to the policies of its Islamist strongman president, Recep Erdoğan, extremists in neighboring Syria’s civil war may now be turning on Turkey with a vengeance.
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