“The images are disturbing: cargo trucks plowing into crowds of people enjoying holiday street festivals and markets.
In recent years, these terrorist attacks have happened often — mostly in European countries — leaving dozens of people dead and hundreds injured.
Now, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration wants truck rental agencies to be more vigilant in efforts to prevent these attacks, releasing a report this week that outlines the increased threat of such incidents.
The report, titled “Vehicle ramming attacks: Threat landscape, indicators and countermeasures,” notes that in the last three years, at least 173 people have been killed and more than 700 wounded in 17 ramming attacks around the world. Within the six-page report, the TSA urges truck companies to report suspicious activity — for example, would-be renters asking about altering a truck — to law enforcement officials.
Moreover, the report warns that no community, “large or small, rural or urban, is immune to attacks of this kind by organized or ‘lone wolf’” attackers.
“Terrorist organizations overseas have advocated conducting vehicle ramming attacks — using modified or unmodified motor vehicles — against crowds, buildings and other vehicles,” the TSA writes in the report. “Such attacks could target locations where large numbers of people congregate, including parades and other celebratory gatherings, sporting events, entertainment venues or shopping centers.”