Last Friday’s terror attack in Paris which killed 129 and injured hundreds more may have cost less than $10,000 to plan and execute.
The budget-terror claim was made by an unnamed counter terror expert speaking to NBC News, who said the total cost of the operation including equipment and expenses could have been as low as $10,000, equivalent to roughly £6,500 or €9,350.
One expert quoted by the news network pointed out the essential simplicity of the attacks, which did not require special equipment or training. He said: “I would note that although the attacks were coordinated, the actual method was basic bombs and guns”.
Another source said the “number does not seem implausable”.
If it is true the attack could have been made for less than $10,000, it would indicate the price of Kalashnikov rifles is in free-fall in Western Europe as supply rises with increased levels of smuggling.
In January 2015 two gunmen attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris killing 12 using similar automatic weapons which reportedly cost €5,000 for the pair from an underground Belgian arms-dealer. At such prices, the automatic weapons used for last week’s assault would have cost €20,000 alone.
Rather than buying on the Western European black market, it is conceivable the attackers brought the rifles over from the comparatively lawless Balkans, where former Soviet weaponry including assault rifles and explosives are cheap and available. As it becomes more clear that many of the Paris killers travelled through the Balkans after having entered Europe in Greece posing as refugees, it is possible they could have transported their own arsenals to France.
A suspected extra member of the Paris terror cell who was stopped after crossing into Germany from Austria a week before the killings was travelling such a route. His GPS navigation system and mobile phone, seized as he was arrested showed he had driven from the Balkans in south-east Europe and was heading to Paris.
When the unnamed man’s car was stopped it was found to contain eight AK47 assault rifles with ammunition, several hand guns, grenades, and other explosives.
The economics of terror reveal the true disparity in the asymmetric warfare being waged against the West by radical Islam. Implementing counter terror provisions including thousands of extra police, special response teams, government monitoring organisations and military precision strikes against terror targets in the Middle East can cost billions of dollars. Yet what these actions are designed to prevent — lone wolf and small cell terror attacks — cost pocket-change in comparison.
Which such small volumes of money involved, would-be Jihadists don’t even have to work and save before launching their killings. As was the case with the Charlie Hebdo attacks, terrorist Amedy Coulibaly was able to fund the whole operation with a $7,050 loan, taken out after Coulibaly lied about his income to a credit company.
Speaking of this disparity in cost and effect, one unidentified treasury official said: “Terrorism is not an expensive sport”.
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