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Terrorist attack

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A teenager in the UK was found guilty of plotting an unexecuted act of terrorism at a Justin Bieber concert a number of months ago.

The plot came just one month after the devastating Manchester attack, which killed 22 people and injured many more.

The Welsh 17-year-old, who cannot be named as he is a minor, faced the court this week and was found guilty of 'planning to drive a car into a crowd of people in Cardiff in a Daesh-inspired terror attack.'

He also planned to execute attacks on Cardiff Castle, the Capitol Shopping Centre, and the Justin Bieber concert on June 30. 

Police also found a hammer,knife and 'martyrdom letter' on searching his home.

In the note, the teen described himself as  'a soldier of the Islamic State,' according to The Guardian.

In court, he denied the charges and told the judge: 

'I wanted to see how easy it was for people who had an interest in terrorism to go online and get information because the police and the government are trying to crack down on terrorism and radicalization,' The Guardian reports

'I wanted to see if it was possible, not for me but from someone else's point of view.'

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So, around this time last year, I wrote a piece about the terrorist attacks in the beautiful city of Nice.

That was over 12 months ago, and since then, the world has faced quite a bit of turmoil. 

Donald Trump is president, thousands of refugees are fleeing their war-torn homes, and countless lives have been lost to terror attacks. 

Manchester suffered, what can only be described as a barbaric attack, where children were murdered by an ignorant, hate-filled suicide bomber. 

Londoners endured violent crimes by a number knife-wielding individuals, where three people lost their lives, needlessly.

And just yesterday, Barcelona was the target of yet another terror attack, when a vehicle ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians on the famous Las Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona.

Lives lost, families left heart broken – but we persevere, because we have to. 

The following is my piece from July 2016, but the message is the same as ever: 

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"We are constantly being told to ‘live to the fullest’ because ‘life is short.’

We hear these inspirational quotes all the time, occasionally even posting some on our social media profiles, but do we actually take the messages to heart?

What do you mean life is short? I’m invincible. Bad things never happen in my neighbourhood.

I woke up on Friday morning to discover that another tragedy had occurred at the hands of a terrorist organisation, and it dawned on me: life actually is short.

A man drove a truck through crowds of people on the promenade in Nice on Thursday night, amid a firework display and celebration, before opening fire and killing over 80 innocent people.

As a writer, I usually find myself penning articles about the Kardashians, or the latest beauty trends, but I write this now, simply as a pissed off citizen of the World. 

There was a time when wars were fought in trenches and on battle fields, by armies who were honouring their country and their people.

Now, in 2016, we see cowards, who are taking these wars to the streets of major cities. It is no longer about territory and power, it is about instilling fear.

The attack carried out on Thursday only proved that our fears have gone beyond the realm of explosives and firearms.

It is an odd feeling, walking to work on an unusually warm summer’s morning in Dublin, knowing that so many people lost their lives that night, simply walking down a street.

Does this mean all vehicles are now a potential threat? What’s next? Skateboards? Bikes?

France is one of the most beautiful nations in the world, but it has been scorned time and time again at the hands of individuals who are ripe with ignorance and hate.

This is not just a message for the people of France, and the devastation they have faced over the past 18 months. It is a message for America, Turkey, Iraq, Belgium, Syria, Afghanistan, and to all the nations in this world who have been affected by mindless terrorism.

I do not want to grow up in a world where the concept of exploration and travel frightens me, purely because of unwarranted attacks on the blameless. I want to be able to visit beautiful countries, without the worry that I may be gunned down, blown up or attacked in any way, for absolutely no reason but bad timing.

While it is near impossible to eradicate evil from our ever-changing world, we must try not fear it. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. We must listen to those over-used John Lennon and Marilyn Monroe quotes, and live our lives to the fullest.

We cannot allow fear to cripple our happiness.

Through this happiness, the evil will lose. They won’t break us. They can’t.

To those of you who fight against terrorism, whether you are a member of the armed forces, a politician or just a protestor hoping for a better world for our children, I thank you.

We must try to tackle these monsters, and fight for world that is not riddled in fear and hatred."

Listen, I know it sounds cliché, but the message is real.

Hug your loved ones, have that extra doughnut, swim in the ocean, travel the world and enjoy every single second of this life.

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Just hours after a suspected terrorist attack killed 13 people and injured up to 100 others in the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona, a second suspected attack has occurred. 

A car carrying five passengers rammed into pedestrians on a seafront strip in the popular tourist area of Cambrils, Spain.

No pedestrians lost their lives in the second attack, but seven people were injured. 

The five suspects in the car were all shot dead by police on the scene. 

Some of the suspects were reported to be wearing suicide belts. 

The manhunt for the driver of the Barcelona van continues, but two others have been arrested in connection with the attack.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Barcelona attack. 

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It has been announced that the Special Army Forces will play a much bigger role in supporting the Gardaí in responding to potential terror attacks.

Captain John Forde, of the Defence Forces, told 98fm: "Among the roles assigned to the Defence Forces in the White Paper on Defence is to provide support to An Garda Síochána in maintaining the security of the State and its people. 

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"In this regard Inter-agency training and close co-operation between the Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána is ongoing."

This means that the Irish soldiers will work alongside the Emergency and Armed Support Units.

They will be the first responders on the scene in the event of an attack in Ireland.

This follows recent efforts by the Gardaí and the Dublin Fire Brigade to extend their training exercises.

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Belgian troops shot dead a suspected suicide bomber in Brussels Central Station last night.

The suspect detonated a device in the railway station, causing a small explosion.

No one was hurt or killed in the attempted terror attack. 

Police have since identified the man, but have not made his identity known to the public as of yet, according to RTÉ.

'The terrorist's identity is known' said Interior Minister Jan Jambon.

'We have been able to identify him.'

Officers believe the man was wearing an explosive belt at the time of the attack. 

It has been reported that the man lay undisturbed for several hours while a bomb squad checked for more explosives.

'This is considered as a terrorist attack,' federal prosecutor’s office spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told The Guardian.

 'The suspect has been neutralised by the military that were present at the scene immediately after the explosion.'

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As London attempts to come to terms with Saturday's night abhorrent attack on innocent civilians, further information regarding the attackers' backgrounds is now coming to light.

And as the Irish public learns that one of the now deceased attackers recently spent time living in south Dublin, security analyst, Tom Clonan, has offered his perspective on Ireland's vulnerability in the current climate.

Speaking on Today with Sean O' Rourke, he acknowledged that the nation's status is ever-changing.

"The risk profile for the Republic has changed. This time last year, I would have said that an attack in Ireland was possible, in theory, but highly unlikely," he said.

"As of today, unfortunately, and very sadly, we have to consider that an attack in Ireland, whether a lone-wolf attack or a supported-network attack, is a distinct possibility.”

“The fact that we had an Irish resident on the street in the Borough markets, creating havoc, we cannot assume therefore that we are immune to such an attack," he added.

Using Sweden as a comparison, the security analyst explained that despite being seen as "a country with a very low threat assessment, a neutral country like Ireland, with a very well-integrated ethnic minority", the Swedish capital still came under attack when a hijacked truck targeted crowds in the country's capital.

However, despite his concerns, Mr Clonan was keen to assuage the public in light of his remarks, and reinforced the belief that Ireland's position varied greatly from Britain's while speaking positively about Ireland's Islamic community.

“The vast majority of Irish Muslims are extraordinarily well integrated. They play Gaelic games; they participate actively in all aspects of Irish life," he said.

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