Terrorist groups rely on lone-actor terrorists to maximize its role in the West. Experts say quick fixes won’t help, calling on Arab and Islamic countries to provide the Western security agencies with information needed to combat terrorism.
Anthony Bergin, Senior Analyst Australian Strategic Policy Institute & ANU’s National Security College, highlighted in an article titled “Unfortunately, counter-terrorism has no quick fixes” measures countries could craw on to combat terrorism.
More than 1000 companies across the country have signed up to a one-hour training scheme that could help prevent terror attacks. Called ACT Awareness e-Learning, the training was developed in a partnership between counter-terrorism policing and retail giant Marks and Spencer. It covers how to spot the signs of suspicious behavior and what to do if an attack should take place.
It’s harder to find these lone actors because counter-terrorism against organized groups can leverage both human intelligence as well as communications monitoring.
Bergin wrote that on Friday another lone-actor terrorist attack took place in Melbourne. A Somali migrant arrived in Australia in the 1980s or 1990s. He may have had links to radicalized members of the Somali community and was known to ASIO. He had his passport cancelled in 2015 after trying to travel to Syria but wasn’t being actively monitored.
Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, aged 30, with convictions for cannabis use and theft, drove a ute into the heart of Melbourne’s Bourke Street, set it alight and stabbed three people, killing one.
Counterterrorism expert professor Boaz Ganor has pointed out, in a lone-actor attack everything begins and ends in the mind of the perpetrator. But he also found that it’s not always the case that intelligence is incapable of dealing with the lone actor.
Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton urged Muslim communities to cooperate with the police to confront terrorist groups.
There have been seven terrorist attacks and 18 disrupted attacks in Australia since 2005 and Melbourne has been the target of nearly half of these. Since 2005, police have arrested 41 people over alleged terrorist activity in Victoria.