Sen. Reed condemns terrorist activity; calls recent attacks ‘opportunistic’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In a 24-hour period, several cities across the globe fell victim to terror attacks — and now a Rhode Island senator is speaking out against the surge in violence.

In Tunisia, authorities say at least 37 people were killed and another 36 were wounded after gunmen opened fire Friday on vacationers at a popular Mediterranean beach resort. In Kuwait, ISIS claimed responsibility for a deadly explosion at a Shiite mosque, killing at least 25 people. In France, a businessman was beheaded — after a man with suspected ties to Islamic radicals smashed a car into an American-owned gas factory.

Senator Jack Reed said the terrorism is disjointed — and that it needs to be observed from a new angle.

“Opportunistic” is the word Reed used to describe the attacks during an interview with Eyewitness News Friday.

“A very small town in France — that’s not like the AL-Qaeda approach, which is some colossal attack on major urban centers — make it spectacular. There are opportunistic, ‘find a place that seems vulnerable and exploit that vulnerability,'” Reed said.

Reed said the AL-Qaeda model — one with defined hierarchy — has given way to a new wave of connection between groups.

“You have this very dispersed, distributed network. Loosely connected people. Some of them don’t have any formal connection at all. They’ve just convinced themselves to do these acts,” Reed explained.

Beyond enhanced law enforcement cooperation and intelligence sharing, Sen. Reed said it’s about a turbulent region standing up against a bankrupt ideology. “We have to delegitimize these people. And that requires leaders in the Middle East, particularly religious leaders, marking clear that these aren’t any acts that can be justified.”

The attack in Tunisia was the worst in the history of the country. In March, gunmen killed 22 people at a national museum — most of the victims were tourists.

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