Islamic State (IS) terror in Syria and Iraq and their threats to strike at mainland UK and US have rightly heightened fears of all types of terror strikes. The UK threat level is at SEVERE, imminent threat of attack, and UK Parliament will rush through a new Anti-Terror bill before Christmas. IS appear to have no boundaries on how to create terror and striking at the heart of Western democracies and their Middle Eastern allies is in their [IS] scope. The threat from IS of chemical attack in Syria and Iraq is already evident with four reported chlorine attacks against the Iraq Army and possible use in Kobani, and against the Kurdish Peshmerga. It was widely reported that IS had recruited a Tunisian scientist who was/is working in Raqqa and Mosul to develop a biological weapon, allegedly based around Bubonic Plague, aka ‘the Black Death’ which wiped out 30 million people in Europe in the Middle Ages, but thankfully now is fairly easily treated with antibiotics and other medicines. However, the latest threat, suggested by some medical and security protagonists is the use by Jihadis of the Ebola virus to create terror in capitals of the free world. And even last week a parcel with a bottle full of liquid labeled Ebola was sent to the New Zealand government.
So what is fact and what is fiction? So-called experts suggest that a Jihadi/terrorist could go to West Africa and purposely infect himself with the Ebola virus and this is perfectly feasible, but it would be very difficult for that person to be certain he had the virus. By the time he was certain, in the later stages of the disease he would be virtually incapacitated. This person would then travel to New York/London etc where if he used conventional means he would be screened at JFK, Heathrow, etc. If he used a variety of transport to avoid detection this would likely take some time, during which he would be getting more sick and less mobile. If he did manage to reach a capital he could become a suicide bomber and threaten to blow himself up in a public place or could just threaten people generally. However, in the later stages of Ebola disease when it is infectious the terrorist would be virtually unable move. So if you see somebody charging about the streets claiming to have Ebola he probably doesn’t, but avoid the person and call the emergency services. If you see somebody lying in the street oozing blood from eyes and mouth claiming to have Ebola, he might have the disease; avoid that person and instruct others to avoid him and call the emergency services. Ebola terrorism is fiction but the fear engendered by the threat of Ebola or any biological terrorism is fact. However like any threat with sensible mitigation protocols, effective resilience can be put in place.