‘They are at risk’: Western churches next ISIS target?
Anti-terrorism experts believe ISIS will focus on Western churches for their next series of attacks.
Counter-terrorism experts claim churches are “easy targets.”
The first attack has already occurred in Indonesia, when a Jihad attacked a Catholic priest and attempted to detonate a homemade suicide vest on Sunday.
Guidelines called Counter Terrorism Advice for Churches warns attackers will likely arm themselves with knives and focus on churches in the UK.
Churches have been warned to increase their security and avoid wearing clerical collars in public.
Nick Tolson, a counter-terrorism expert, is currently rewriting the advice for National Churchwatch, an organization specializing in safety advice for clergy and employees.
Tolson told the Mirror: “Since the French attack we have to look at the possibility of an attack on a church in this country. The risk level has gone up.”
“Churches in the past were considered low risk – now we know an attack is coming…and churches are one of the easy targets. It’s likely to be a knife, not a machine gun, but we are covering that too.
“They are at risk. It only takes seconds for someone to stab a large number of people as we have seen.”
Tolson explained the importance of fast response times if a threat ever presents itself. He offered advice on how to handle any child who becomes separated from their parents.
“Obviously, the safety of children is paramount and understandably the parents will be frantic,” Tolson noted.
The older guidelines suggested people attempt to hide under tables but Tolson said terrorists have will not stop at shooting. They will search for any survivors and kill them.
“Now it’s all about running away,” he explained. “If you saw [the attacks] in Nice the police were shouting to run – the new guidance is about getting distance.”
By Kenya Sinclair