Terror Trend: London and Paris latest in vehicle attacks

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Vehicles were used in two new terrorist attacks in London and Paris Monday. That tactic was born nearly seven years ago - and Chicago was part of the inspiration.

In October 2010, the I-Team uncovered a new al-Qaeda publication that featured the skyline of Chicago for an article encouraging one-man jihad attacks.

The early edition of "Inspire" magazine instructed radicals on how to use pick-up trucks as the "ultimate mowing machine." While it hasn't been used here in Chicago, there have been vehicle attacks in other U.S. cities and two more happened Monday overseas.

The first attack happened just after midnight in North London. This van plows into Muslim worshipers leaving a Ramadan prayer service, leaving one dead and at least 10 hurt.

"It was like hysteria. I can't even describe it. I was just running around. Basically he drove on the pavement coming straight toward all the Muslims," one witness said.

"Whatever happened it was done in a very vindictive way. It wasn't an accident. It wasn't that the person was drunk and the car went out of control," another witness said.

According to witnesses, the driver was a 47-year-old Welshman, Darren Osborne, who yelled that he wanted to kill all Muslims just before driving onto a sidewalk outside the mosque. Although a different motive, it was a familiar tactic.

Al-Qaeda may have pushed Muslim extremists to convert vehicles into weapons and sent a chilling message to Chicagoans in 2010. But Monday's attack in London showed such a technique is not reserved only for violent Islamists.

And, it was vehicle attack that caused chaos in Paris Monday afternoon. A heavily-armed driver on a counterterror watch list rammed his car into a police van 200 yards from the French presidential palace.

The explosives-filled vehicle raced in the roundabout at the Champs-Elysees before smashing into the police van.

The 31-year-old driver was killed as his car burned and blew up. No one else was hurt.

The terrorist vehicle attacks in Europe and in the Middle East, Canada and last November in Columbus, Ohio all follow the al-Qaeda playbooks from 2010.

When the I-Team first reported on that almost seven years ago, there was skepticism that jihadists would ever carry through on the tactic. But now, it is a matter of where the next one will be.
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