Friday, September 11, 2009

Terrorist new target: hotels -10 September, 2009

Terrorist new target: hotels
The new target for terrorists are hotels and other easier-to-access tourist areas as security continues to be beefed up at military and government facilities, says a global inelligence organization.
“Al-Qaida is changing from a centralized organization with global goals to regional ‘franchises’ with more parochial aims and strong grass-roots support, according to a report from STRATFOR,” says the AP.
These smaller cells get less training and less money, so they set their sights lower.
That doesn't mean they aren't dangerous, "particularly if they are attempting to prove their value or if they are able to link up with someone who is highly tactically skilled," the report says.
The number of attacks on hotels has more than doubled since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, according to STRATFOR.
Why have hotels become a soft target for Islamic extremists? Answer: a fixed location, a lot of human traffic and shallow security.
Hotels also attract many Westerners, giving militants high probabilities of killing or injuring large numbers of them in a single attack, according to the report.
Although hotel security guards try to monitor suspicious people and activities, extremists know how to get around this: check in as a guest, giving them full access to the grounds. As an example, the report says the bombers who carried out the July twin suicide attacks at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia, had registered two days earlier.
“The first step for large hotel operators in dealing with this threat is to undertake a vulnerability assessment to identify properties that are most likely to be at risk,” the report says.
Despite the increasing attacks in hotels, the report says many owners and managers have been reluctant to equip their buildings with more security measures, which can be cumbersome and inconvenience guests, says the report. But in the wake of lawsuits, that may be changing.
Measures for countering terrorism include more security guards and prominently placed security cameras.
By David Wilkening

Terrorist new target: hotels -10 September, 2009
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