European officials grappling with the Monday Christmas market attack by a likely Islamic State-inspired Tunisian refugee, say there is only so much you can do to prevent such terrorism.
Despite ISIS propaganda specifically calling for attacks on Christmas markets, there were limited security measures throughout the country. France’s largest Christmas market is reportedly a prized target of ISIS, and authorities say they may have to close it if threats continue to proliferate. German officials responded to Monday’s attack by closing all Christmas markets in Berlin Tuesday.
“If you want to kill people on Fifth Avenue at Christmastime and mow down people with an assault rifle, there is really nothing out there which is going to prevent you from doing that — not in Europe, and certainly not in the United States,” one French counter-terrorism official told The Washington Post.
The official’s comments come amid Europe’s repeated attempts to grapple with a growing terror threat throughout the country. Some European politicians say the only way to prevent these terrorist attacks is to not accept refugees from active war-zones with large Muslim populations like Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
European security services say they simply do not have the manpower to put 24-hour surveillance on all suspected Islamists in their country. German authorities told The New York Times it takes nearly 40 security service personnel per suspect to conduct 24-hour surveillance.
French officials similarly lamented in June that they had more people on their terror suspect list than personnel needed to surveil them. They elaborated that they could only put 250 out of 10,000 suspects under 24-hour surveillance at any one time, greatly exacerbating the odds of a terrorist attack.
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