As most will certainly be aware, a bomb detonated outside or at the Manchester Arena on Monday evening, killing at least 22 people and injuring scores. The attack happened at a concert and children are among the victims. While details remain to be confirmed it appears that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber using explosives packed with metal debris; a crude but effective device. Police have yet to determine the identity of the perpetrator, whether the murderer acted alone or was part of a network/group, and whether this attack has links to foreign entities. The attack comes just weeks before a snap election in the UK.
While it is too early to say for sure who is behind the attack, it does come on the heels of many other terrorist attacks in Europe. France, Belgium, and Germany have witnessed mass-casualty attacks with many dead and injured in 2015-2016. In political terms these attacks have been used as fuel by politicians who wish to limit immigration and reduce the importance on the EU in favor of the individual nation-states. This latest bombing may have an impact on the British election come June.
We will continue to underscore that terrorism poses but a small risk to the individual traveler in Europe. You are more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than in a terrorist attack. Having said that, terrorism is obviously another thing all together. The fear and frustration it generates preys on everyone, and makes our societies less open.
To reduce the risk of exposure means curtailing what would otherwise be normal activities. Likely targets of new attacks include anywhere where crowds gather, public transport, political events, government buildings, places of worship, markets, malls, stadiums, plazas… the list goes on.
You should make sure if there are any limitations in your travel insurance or health insurance for covers related to terrorism, including evacuation, repatriation, and travel disruption.
For those traveling to the UK:
Expect some travel delays or disruption. Security will be increased (from an already high level) at airports, stations, and other transport hubs. There will likely be a lot of armed police around and they will not be in the mood for abuse, jokes or other obstinacy. Follow any and all directions given by security personnel and police without delay. As the elections approach you may wish to avoid political meetings, rallies, and polling stations on election day itself.