Americans are still trying to make sense of three ferocious attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia. Each was carried out Friday by apparent Islamic militants during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan; two of the assaults were mass killings.
Near Lyon, in southern France, a 35-year-old worker beheaded his manager at a plant owned by Air Products and Chemicals Co. of Allentown, Pennsylvania, then tried unsuccessfully to cause a major explosion. The attacker left Islamic inscriptions at the scene and was arrested. French police said Monday they were investigating a link to a person in Syria. No motive for the attack is yet known.
In Kuwait, a Saudi man who entered the country just hours earlier blew himself up in a Shiite mosque, killing 27 and injuring 227. The Islamic State group later posted an audio message on Twitter that it said was from the bomber. Police arrested two men Sunday, one of whom allegedly drove the attacker to the mosque. The assault comes during the heightened Sunni-Shiite conflict in the Middle East, including the persistent bombing of Yemen by Saudi Arabia.
The Tunisian attack occurred at a beach resort in Sousse frequented by foreigners. A 24-year-old student opened fire with an assault rifle and grenades, claiming the lives of 38, at least 18 of whom were British tourists. Police killed the attacker and arrested seven people between Sunday and Monday in connection with the slayings for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility.
France, Kuwait and Tunisia have since tightened security, and authorities are exploring leads and links to others who may have been involved. None of the attackers had been of special interest to police prior to last week, suggesting that intelligence surveillance can go only so far. It is worth learning whether these attacks were related or waged independently and whether they were planned by the Islamic State or at least inspired by allegiance to the militant group.