Ramming Attacks Target Police

Terrorists in two countries intentionally rammed vehicles into police this week. In Israel, a terrorist intentionally drove his van into an officer who was manning a checkpoint at the border. The attacker got out of his vehicle armed with a pair of scissors, in an apparent attempt to kill the border officer. A subsequent check of the vehicle identified a bomb that was later neutralized. The second attack occurred in Colombes, France, when a 29-year-old man targeted police who had performed a vehicle stop. He rammed his car into a police motorcycle, pinning the two officers between the cars, critically injuring one. A letter pledging his allegiance to ISIS was found in the car.

Assessment: Scene safety is paramount on roadways from intentional or accidental collisions. One study has estimated about 20 responders die every year on vehicle accident responses. During light traffic times, such as today’s quarantine period, roadway speeds increase and responders should maintain larger safety zones. Vehicles were used as weapons in each of these attacks but often it is phase one of the assault. In Israel, the second weapon was an edged weapon (a common strategy) and a tertiary explosive device could have been planted to target incoming responders. An immediate search of the vehicle needs to occur for responder safety and evidence collection.

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