Targeting young girls is shocking even by standards of contemporary terrorism

The cruelty of Monday night’s attack in Manchester, targeting an audience made up mostly of young teenage girls, is shocking even by the standards of contemporary terrorism.

But it is the fact that it was a bombing rather than a low-tech attack which will cause most alarm among Britain’s counter-terrorism officials.

Apart from the bombings in Paris in 2015 and Brussels last year, most recent terror attacks in Europe have required little planning or co-ordination.

Some, as in Westminster this year and in Nice and Berlin last year, have involved the use of a vehicle to mow down pedestrians.

Others used guns or knives, or as in the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby four years to the day before the Manchester Arena bombing, a meat cleaver.

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