I was holding off posting on this until some more details emerged, but it does now look like yesterday’s attempt to bomb a military barracks in Milan, Italy was a failed suicide attack.
Reportedly, one Mohammad Game, a Libyan, managed to get into the perimeter of the base but was spotted by a sentry before he got near the main building. When challenged he detonated (or threw, its not quite clear) a toolbox containing an explosive device which partly exploded seriously wounding Game (he’s apparently had an arm amputated and lost both eyes) and the sentry was lightly wounded.
It has been reported that the 35-year-old failed businessman had at least two accomplices, who have been arrested. One was Egyptian, and is alleged to have transported Game to the barracks, while the other, another Libyan, assisted with the explosives.
One hundred kilos of fertilizer and other material was allegedly found at their home. The target of the attack, the Santa Barbara barracks, is home to some of Italy’s forces who are deployed in Afghanistan. Last month, these forces suffered a major blow, when a suicide VBIED killed six of their personnel in an attack in Kabul.
I reckon this is a pretty significant incident, in that, as far as I can recall, it is the first attempted suicide attack (i.e. one that got as far as trying to detonate a device) in Western Europe since May 2008, when British man Nicky Reilly injured himself in a failed attempt to bomb a restaurant in Exeter, UK.
While its early to say much more about this latest incident, it demonstrates yet again that downloading instructions, making home-made explosives and manufacturing a viable device out of them is not as simple as some would have us believe. As I highlighted in this post, the lack of access to skilled personnel and resources makes jihadist cells potentially much less competent than they might otherwise be.