There are so many things that are unclear and remain speculative about the latest attempt to blow up an aeroplane on US soil, but what is this fascination, even obsession, terrorists seem to have with aeroplanes? Thankfully this attempt was foiled, but it will be interesting to know what he brought into the aeroplane, as much as how he managed to smuggle in powder and liquid through the security at Schiphol. I’ve been through Schiphol a few times, and they seem to do a thorough job. There will also be questions about the security and intelligence services’ ability to discover and monitor terrorists. Naturally there will be those who slip through the net, but the focus must be on minimizing the chances of such happening.
So far this attempt does not seem to constitute part of a wider attack, which aim to cause damage to multiple aircrafts in a co-ordinated fashion. Instead, he seems to have acted alone, at least in executing it. Groups and cells are probably easier to find, because there are numerous people involved in planning, preparing and executing attacks, and somewhere during the process someone will come under observation. If he had connections with Al-Qaeda, hopefully he will reveal how they work, and if not, it will be a worrying sign that individuals, undiscovered, can act on their own to cause deaths and damage.