The upscale Parisian department store Printemps was evacuated Tuesday, said Leisa Barnett in Vogue.com, after a group calling itself the Afghan Revolutionary Front sent a bomb threat to French news agency AFP. Police and a bomb squad did find explosives, albeit without a detonator, in the third-floor men’s bathroom. But “despite the gravitas of the situation, Christmas shoppers in the area” weren’t deterred for long.
And why not? said Robert Marquand in The Christian Science Monitor. The group’s name and tactics didn’t fit with typical Islamist terrorism, and the warning note shunned “the language of jihad, of Islam, or of the Taliban” for an “almost Marxist phraseology.” But whether the threat was “authentic, a cruel prank,” or “a deceptive shot from the ultraleft,” the dynamite was real. And after Mumbai, big cities aren’t taking chances.
Nor should they, said Abe Greenwald in Commentary online. The Afghan Revolutionary Front, with its old, inert dynamite sticks, may have “broken new ground” by inventing “symbolic terrorism,” but real “high-profile terrorism” is on the rise worldwide. With the “supposed blowback effect” of the Iraq War failing as an explanation for this rise, we all need to “get serious and realistic about terrorism once again.”