What should you do in an attack?


Writer: Stefanos Peppas

Interpretation of “Soft Target”
There are spaces of high public concentration which are not “entrenched”. They are  considered vulnerable, unprotected and security is not the primary mission. Schools, shopping centers, markets, airports, train or metro stations , sports facilities and ports can be regarded as “Soft Targets”.

Psychology and Motivation of engaging Soft Targets
● Easier, cheaper, short time design of operation
● Increased probability of success
● Success = Reliability
● Increase recruitment of new members
● Testing of new strategies, tactics or weapons


Surveillance → Intelligence  → Readiness

There are directives based on information taken from ISIS and Al-Qaeda, which groups have gone through trainings and efforts to prepare their attacks. Each step of these directives, is a way to derail an attack before it happens.


Often, terrorists will observe the “target” of a planned attack, well in advance, sometimes even with enhanced vision devices, cameras, etc. Be aware of those who engage in taking pictures of things where tourists would not normally engage p. x. doors, security checkpoints, areas of employee personnel, police patrols, etc.


Initial observations from terrorists, may include detailed questions to the people who run the site for issues like shift changes or access to facilities. Also, watch out for people who seem to “read” the positions of security officers. Sometimes, they will make a decoy-attack to carry out tests, such as creating a turmoil just to see how long it takes for one or more security officers to intervene.


Terrorists will disguise themselves as workers, hospital employees or even officers to gain access to places that are not accessible to ordinary people. Beware of those who seem to go from place to place undetected and be on the lookout for lost objects and communications which may be suspicious.

When an attack occurs…..!

People shall react quickly, first by running for an exit.
Insist others come with you, but don’t let their indecision slow you down.
Consider your route as you leave. Will it place you in the line of fire? Is it safer to wait for the attacker to move away before you continue?”

If it is not possible to move to safety, then people are advised to hide.
They should consider their exits and escape routes when choosing a hiding place, avoiding dead ends and bottlenecks and staying away from the door.
Mobile phones should be switched to silent and vibrate turned off.


The best hiding place with protection from gunfire will have a substantial physical barrier between you and the attacker.
Those able to evacuate should get as far away from the danger area as possible and call the police.


When the police arrive they will be armed. The police may be unable to distinguish you from the attacker.

They may treat you firmly. Do everything they tell you to do. Don’t make any sudden movements or gestures that may be perceived as a threat.


  1. https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/area/security-and-defence_en