Wednesday night’s knife stabbing in London near Russell Square appears to have set off an eerie feeling in Britain that maybe the type of terrorism that has occurred on the continent has now come across the Channel. In expectation of this activity, the UK had already raised its terrorism alert system to “severe” which is defined as suggesting that a terrorist “attack was considered to be highly likely.”
What perhaps is the most disturbing is that earlier on Wednesday morning Scotland Yard had announced that it had added 600 armed police officers were being added to patrol in London. Given the fact that most British police patrol without guns, this had been seen as evidence of an increased concern at the highest levels that there indeed was cause for heightened alert.
Less than ten hours after the alleged perpetrator has been apprehended there is no evidence to suggest that this killing of one woman and the wounding of five others was anything more than what police have so far suggested to be ban individual with mental health issues. The authorities continue to be investigating the matter. What is clearly a reflection of the times is that no one is put off by the possibility that this might not be merely the actions of an ill or deranged person but rather of a possible terrorist.
While not connected, but worth noting, is the fact that this incident occurred the night following release by the Community Security Trust’s (CST) of its report on anti-Semitism activity in the UK during the first six months of 2016 which showed an increase of 11% over activity during the first six months of 2015. It is also, according to CST– which maintains physical and personal security for Jewish institutions and individuals throughout the England, Scotland, and Wales—the first time that the incidents of anti-Semitism have increased when it did not coincide with specific activity in Israel, such as the Gaza War.