The interior ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia is warning police officers to be prepared for potential stabbing attacks from sympathisers of Islamic State.The report comes from an internal memo sent to police in the German region by the interior ministry. According to the memo, Islamic State has specifically called for knife attacks on police officers in Europe in the same style as the recent Westminster attack.
“The terrorists of the so-called Islamic State have been publishing videos for a long time in which supporters are called on to assassinate ‘unbelievers’,” a ministry spokesman said, reports Die Welt.
In one video published by the terror group, a policeman is shown being stabbed by an Islamic State fighter. The ministry says they have used the information to brief police on precautions to avoid potential danger.
They say the Islamic State video shows three ways to attack policemen and shows which knives, in particular, are the most effective. They tell the fighters specifically to distract the police so that they do not see the knife and are unable to defend against attack.
The videos were released by the propaganda arm of Islamic State known as “Amaq Agency” which is often the first outlet to claim responsibility for terrorist attacks committed by the group.
Fighters or sympathisers of Islamic State have stabbed police, often fatally, over the last year. Last year in the city of Hanover, a 15-year-old girl named Safia attempted to stab a police officer to death but was unsuccessful. Safia was put on trial for attempted murder and found guilty and sentenced to six years in prison.
In a suburb outside of Paris, another policeman was killed in his home by an Islamic State fighter last June. Forty-two-year-old police commissioner Jean-Baptiste Salvaing was killed by the terrorist along with his wife. After several hours a police commando unit stormed the house killing the murderer 25-year-old Larossi Abballa.
Police are not the only targets of Islamic State. Earlier this week, the group released a list of 8,700 Westerners that were targets of assassination including U.S. President Donald Trump.
In Germany and Austria, Islamic State has also targetted Muslims they feel are “too moderate” for murder labelling them as “apostates”. Amongst those listed was Aiman Mazyek, Secretary-General of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, and Vienna city councilman Omar Al-Rawi.