Terror strikes in France, Tunisia, Kuwait: India should be worried, but China even more

Three terror attacks in three different continents on the same day – 26 June.  The attacked countries: Tunisia (Africa), Kuwait (Asia) and France (Europe).

What is happening?  Are the attacks connected? If so, which terror outfit is powerful enough to synchronize trans-continental attacks on the same day, if at all these attacks were choreographed by one single outfit?

Before we attempt to deconstruct the terror attacks, let’s first have a look at each terror incident. The three terror attacks consumed at least 63 lives.

The site of the blast in Kuwait. AP image

The site of the blast in Kuwait. AP image

At least 37 people were killed in a Tunisian beachside hotel when a gunman, hiding his weapon in an umbrella, opened fire on tourists, largely Europeans.

In Kuwait it was much more sinister, as a suicide bomber killed 25 people when he blew himself up inside a packed Shi'ite Muslim mosque in Kuwait city during Friday prayers.

In France, one person was decapitated and two others were seriously injured at an American owned factory in southeastern France.

It seems like that all the three attacks are the handiwork of an Islamist outfit, apparently the Islamic State (IS). Ironically , the holy month of Ramadan holds no significance for outfits like IS.

The IS signature on the attacks is most evident in France. France had witnessed the most brutal terror attack by fundamentalist Islamists in January this year when the offices of its well known satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were attacked. A Jewish supermarket in Paris was also attacked around the same time.

Along with Germany, France is home to largest concentration of Muslims in Europe. As per 2010 figures, the Muslim population in France is 7.5 per cent, or 4.7 million. In Germany Muslims constitute 5.8 per cent of the population and number 4.8 million.

Tunisia happens to be a familiar target of Islamist terror outfits and a worrying breeding ground of such terrorists.

Tunisia, the smallest country in the Maghreb region of North Africa, is not new to terror attacks. This is the second terror attack in the country this year. Just three months ago, the Bardo museum in Tunis was attacked in which 22 people were killed.

Going by the type of targets picked by the attackers, it is clear that they are picking on tourists and the tourism industry - an important source of revenue for Tunisia. Significantly, a large number of Tunisians, who fought in such volatile theatres as Iraq and Syria, have returned home and their hand in these attacks can’t be ruled out.

The most brazen in the three terror attacks on Friday was undoubtedly Kuwait. IS claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb attack in a mosque in Kuwait city which also left a large number of people wounded – 227. It was a Shia mosque and was the first terror attack of its kind in Kuwait.

Kuwait, a majority Sunni country, does not have a history of sectarian tensions, even though in the neighbouring Saudi Arabia there have been many attacks on Shia-frequented mosques.

It is quite plausible that one single outfit is responsible for all the three attacks. The needle of suspicion points to the IS which emerged as the most ferocious terror outfit with the largest number of terror strikes in 2014.

On the face of it, the three terror attacks have occurred far away from the Indian soil. But India cannot remain unaffected by these events. If the perpetrators could strike in unison across three continents on the same day, India too cannot home to remain unaffected forever.

Importantly, the three terror attacks on Friday also hands out a worrying message for China which is playing with fire in stepping up all-round engagement with Pakistan.

In fact more than India, it is China which needs to be more worried over the Friday bloodbath across three continents. After all, China is just about to embark on a $46 billion investment in the much-publicised China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) even as there are reports of the influence of IS rising in Pakistan.


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