The information, data and findings from the below brief was collected by and sourced from TRAC: Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, in partnership with the Mackenzie Institute. Please click here to visit TRAC.
Female Suicide Bomber Attacks Checkpoint in Chechen Republic, Suspected IS-Sponsored Knife Attack in Brussels
Female suicide bomber, Karina Spiridonova, Detonates Vest at a Police Checkpoint in Grozny, Chechen Republic, Russia (17 November, 2018)
On 17 November 2018, Karina Spiridonova was stopped at a police checkpoint and asked for ID documents. She refused, and detonated the suicide vest she was wearing. Spiridonova was 25 years old, born on 20 September 1993. Allegedly, a hand-written note was found near her dead body: “Allah, please, excuse me, excuse me, excuse me…” (the photo of the note at bottom of this entry). Other than the female bomber, no other casualties were reported at the police checkpoint after the attack.
Once commonplace with Black Widows, female suicide bombers have become nearly extinct in Chechnya. Black Widows were known to justify their attacks as revenge for the deaths of their husbands and family members. If the note on the suicide bomber’s body turns out to have been actually written by the attacker, it may explain some motivations behind the attack. The note is apologetic, atypical of a suicide attacker.
Knife Attack Outside Main Police Station, Historic Sector, in Brussels, Belgium (20 November, 2018)
On 20 November 2018, at 05:30am local time, a man wielding a knife attacked a police officer outside the main police station in Brussels shouting “Allah Akbar”. Another officer at the scene shot the assailant. Both the officer stabbed and the assailant were taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
The attacker’s motivations remain unclear at the time of this writing. Even though Islamic State advocates knife attacks for lone wolf followers, the target and the timing seem at odds with typical IS attackers in Europe, who have preferred attacking civilians and tourists. That said, IS followers in Indonesia almost exclusively target police officers with knife attacks near the police station.
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The above has been compiled by Alexander Sawicki, an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for the Department of History at Ryerson University, specializing in the interplay between technological innovation, warfare, and social change throughout history. He was formerly a Research Analyst for the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC), where he published articles that dealt with Cybersecurity, US-Russia relations, and Canadian Military Procurement. You can find Alexander on .