June in Review

Following are some of major events that have been dominating the global headlines in the month of June:

Terror attacks in London

London suffered two major terror attacks in June, both targeting civilians right in the city center and its northern suburb. The first attack occurred on 3rd June 2017 on the busy London Bridge in Southwark when a van ploughed into crowds of people before three assailants jumped out of the vehicle and started to stab people in the nearby Borough Market. Eight fatalities were reported and at least 48 others were injured. All the assailants were later neutralized by armed officers. The attack came barely ten days after an explosion in the Manchester Arena and Islamist militants were suspected to be behind the attack.

About two weeks later, another attack occurred on 19th June 2017 near a mosque in Finsbury Park. This time it was targeted against Muslim worshippers who just completed “Terawih” prayers for the holy month of Ramadan. The assailant ploughed his van into the crowd, killing a person and wounding ten others. The suspect was later arrested on charges of terrorism. Initial investigation suggested that he held an antagonistic view toward Muslims amid the attack on London Bridge earlier. Both of the attacks have underscored the challenges facing the British security apparatus amid the growing threat of terrorism. It also highlights the increased usage of vehicles as the preferred tool for attacks like those in Berlin, Stockholm and Nice, potentially leaving many casualties.

Islamic States strikes heart of Iranian capital

The capital of Iran, Tehran also experienced another attack on 7th June 2017 when several militants stormed the country’s parliament and engaged in a fierce gun battle with the country’s security forces. As the siege at the parliament unfolded, another attack also occurred at the Khomeini’s Mausoleum in the city’s south. The attacks lasted for about four hours before all five militants were neutralized. A total of 23 people were killed while more than 52 others were wounded. The Islamic State group (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack, the first of its kind in the country, and vowed to conduct more of such attacks in the future. The Iranian government also blamed Saudi Arabia for the attacks amid the rivalry between the countries in the region.

Gulf diplomatic crisis isolates Qatar

A diplomatic crisis erupted in the Gulf region in early June when several Middle Eastern and African nations abruptly cut off ties with Qatar over accusation of it funding terrorist organizations around the world. The first countries to cut off ties with Doha were Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Throughout the course of the week, several other countries followed suit and they included Mauritania, Comoros, Senegal, Libya, Maldives and Somaliland. Despite the terrorism funding allegations, some have said the close ties between Iran and Qatar is another reason for the diplomatic stand-off as Saudi Arabia considered the former as its arch rival for regional leadership. As a result of the crisis, air travel in the region was affected with Qatar Airways forced to divert most of its flights due to airspace restrictions.

London’s Grenfell Tower inferno triggers public outcry

A massive fire broke out at the Grenfell Tower in west London on 14th June 2017. The inferno has been regarded as the worst fire tragedy in the United Kingdom since World War II with 30 confirmed fatalities and 74 others injured. Many others were also reported missing. In the aftermath of the blaze, there was widespread anger among the British public that questioned the standards of fire safety in buildings across the country.

Lone gunman storms casino in Manila

A lone gunman stormed the Resorts World Manila complex in Pasay City on 3rd June 2017 and fired randomly inside a casino, causing panic among visitors. The shooter also set fire to furniture and equipment inside the casino which eventually triggered a stampede as most people attempted to flee. 37 people were confirmed dead due to smoke inhalation and the stampede while dozen others were wounded. The gunman committed suicide after a brief shootout with a special police unit. Authorities confirmed that the incident was not terror-related and was instead motivated by personal financial constraints.

 
Chan Hoi Cheong
GWS Analyst
Security risk analyst based in Kuala Lumpur

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2017-07-05T15:25:11+00:00