Needle jihad, a new jihadist menace is on rise in the European countries as well as the United Kingdom. According to media reports, just during February-June 2022, more than 300 people in France have reported being pricked out of the blue with needles at nightclubs or concerts. While doctors and multiple prosecutors are on the case, but no one knows who’s doing it or why, and whether the victims have been injected with drugs — or indeed any substance at all, according counterterrorism experts, this is a new jihadist act where Muslim youths are attacking females with needled contaminated with HIV and hepatitis viruses as well as mercury. Main target of the attackers is to infect those females with deadly viruses.
In Europe, nightclub owners and law enforcement agencies are trying to raise awareness, and warning concert-goers about the potential risk of such surprise needle attacks or needle jihad.
Similar attacks are also taking place in the United Kingdom, where government is already studying a spate of “needle spiking, while police in Belgium and the Netherlands are investigating similar cases.
Media reports said, on May 4, 2022, 18-year-old Tomas Laux attended a rap concert in Lille in northern France, where he smoked a bit of marijuana and drank some alcohol during the show. When he came home, he started feeling dizzy and had headache – and he spotted a strange little skin puncture on his arm and a bruise.
The next morning, the symptoms didn’t disappear and Laux went to his doctor, who advised him to go to the emergency room. Medics confirmed evidence of a needle prick, and Laux was tested for HIV and hepatitis.
“I’ve given up going to concerts since it happened”, Laux told Associated Press.
Hundreds of kilometers (miles) away, Leanne Desnos recounted a similar experience after going to a club in the southwest city of Bordeaux in April this year.
Desnos, also 18, passed out the next day, and felt dizzy and had hot flashes while at a fast food restaurant. When she got home, she realized she had an injection mark on her arm. After having seen testimony on social media about the mystery pricks, she went to a clinic to get tested for HIV infections.
People from Paris, Toulouse, Nantes, Nancy, Rennes, and other cities around France have reported being pricked with a needle without their knowledge or permission. The targeted individuals, who are mostly women, show visible marks of injection, often bruises, and report symptoms like feeling groggy.
France’s national police agency says 302 people have filed formal complaints about such needle pricks. Several police investigations are ongoing in different regions, but no suspect has been arrested yet, no needle has been found and the motive remains unclear.
Two victims of needle jihad tested positive for GHB. GHB, a powerful anesthetic used by predators seeking to sexually abuse or assault victims, can be detected in the urine only for 12 hours.
With club-goers expressing fear on social networks and media coverage fueling anxiety, the French Interior Ministry launched a national awareness campaign. Police are handing out leaflets to clubbers and discussing prevention measures with club owners.
In the United Kingdom, Parliament issued a report in April 2022 on drink and needle spiking in pubs and nightclubs after a sudden surge in such incidents last year. It said police reported about 1,000 cases of needle injection across the country around October 2021, when droves of students returned to campuses after coronavirus restrictions eased.
However, the parliament report said there was a lack of data to judge how serious the issue is. It’s not clear whether anyone has been prosecuted for needle spiking, or how many victims were injected with a drug or other substance.
“No-one knows how prevalent spiking is, whether by drink, drug or needle, and no-one knows what causes perpetrators to do it. Anecdotal evidence suggests the practice is widespread and dangerous”, it said.
A series of similar incidents involving people pricked with needles at nightclubs, a soccer game and during the Belgian Pride parade have been reported in Belgium. In May 2022, the Brussels prosecutor’s office opened two investigations following complaints from women who said they were jabbed during the pride parade in downtown Brussels. Organizers of the march said in a statement they were informed of several cases and urged potential victims to get checked at hospitals.
Jihadists using hypodermic needle
In all the cases of needle jihad, radicalized Muslim youths are using hypodermic needle. According to medical experts, a hypodermic needle is used for rapid delivery of liquids, or when the injected substance cannot be ingested, either because it would not be absorbed (as with insulin), or because it would harm the liver. It is also useful to deliver certain medications that cannot be delivered orally due to vomiting. There are many possible routes for an injection, with intramuscular (into a muscle) and intravenous (into a vein) being the most common. A hypodermic syringe has the ability to retain liquid and blood in it up to years after the last use and a great deal of caution should be taken to use a new syringe every time.
The hypodermic needle also serves an important role in research environments where sterile conditions are required. The hypodermic needle significantly reduces contamination during inoculation of a sterile substrate. The hypodermic needle reduces contamination for two reasons: First, its surface is extremely smooth, which prevents airborne pathogens from becoming trapped between irregularities on the needle’s surface, which would subsequently be transferred into the media (e.g. agar) as contaminants; second, the needle’s surface is extremely sharp, which significantly reduces the diameter of the hole remaining after puncturing the membrane and consequently prevents microbes larger than this hole from contaminating the substrate.