Gunman Targets U.S. Soldiers At Frankfurt Airport
There have been plots against U.S. military targets in Germany in recent years. The attack fits in the category of “armed jihadist assault” similar to what American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki called for in mid-2010 in jihadist Internet chat rooms. Al-Awlaki had been tied to U.S. Maj. Nidal Hasan, who was charged with the November 2009 Fort Hood shooting.
The attack in Frankfurt appears to have been a soft-target attack. Soft targets are vulnerable to attack due to the absence of adequate security or standoff distance. Areas at airports outside the security check-in points are such targets. STRATFOR has for some time predicted that militants would seek out such targets, especially considering their fixation on airplanes. The recent bombing at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow, for example, targeted the international arrivals area where families, friends and drivers awaited travelers emerging from the terminal. Such areas are difficult to secure because doing so would require essentially cordoning off the entire airport.
If reports of the attacker’s ethnicity are true, this would not be the first time ethnic Albanians have joined international jihad. A number of Albanian individuals were part of the Fort Dix plot in the United States in 2007. U.S. authorities broke up a militant cell in North Carolina that involved an individual of ethnic Albanian origin. In 2009, a U.S. citizen of Albanian descent from Brooklyn, New York, tried to go to Pakistan for militant training. Albanian militants fighting in the Kosovo Liberation Army, however, largely eschewed militant Islam during their fight against Serbia in the late 1990s and in fact allied with NATO against the regime of then-Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic. Recent jihadist plots, however, indicate that the diaspora in the West has had a considerable number of cases of radicalization.