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SPOTLIGHT: LONE WOLVES OF ISIS

The Islamic State terror group (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for two terrorist attacks in the past two days: a mass shooting at a gay nightclub early Sunday in Orlando, Florida, and a targeted stabbing of a police officer and his wife near Paris late last night. But while the attacks are in no way linked, and almost certainly not coordinated by ISIS leaders, they are nonetheless connected. Both cases highlight the new security challenge of our time, as ISIS uses the Internet to radicalize potential followers, and encourages them to strike when and where they want. With lone wolves aiming at soft targets, day-to-day prevention becomes an almost impossible task. Here are the latest details.


FRANCE ATTACK

  • The 25 year-old attacker, identified as Larossi Abbala, stabbed to death a police captain and his wife, also a police department employee, in their home in a Paris suburb, before being killed by a SWAT unit. The couple's three-year-old son was rescued in the operation.
  • Abbala, from nearby Mantes-La-Jolie, was already convicted in 2013 for "criminal association with the aim of preparing terrorist acts."
  • Within hours, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. Abbala reportedly has ties with jihadist groups in Pakistan, and swore allegiance to ISIS in a live Facebook video, according to RFI journalist David Thomson.
  • The attack was "undeniably a terrorist act," French President Francois Hollande was quoted as saying in a speech in Paris today.

ORLANDO ATTACK

  • An employee at the Pulse nightclub told CNN that the gunman, Omar Mateen, had visited the club twice a month over a period of three years. Conflicting portraits of the killer of 49 are emerging, with Mateen being described as "friendly" by some, while other customers remember him as drinking alone and being "loud and belligerent," the Orlando Sentinel reports.
  • According to the Los Angeles Times, Mateen had also been using a gay dating and chat app.
  • The FBI is investigating why a 10-month probe of Mateen three years ago was closed, and what signs may have been missed of his potential for violence, the Washington Post reports.
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Mariateresa Fichele

Fifteen years ago, Francesco kept busy by scamming people. He was a regular visitor to the beaches of Terracina, south of Rome, where he was caught several times selling counterfeit Ray-Ban sunglasses. Then came the drugs, which fed a serious substance-induced psychosis and eventually he tested positive for HIV.

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