National Security

American Tourists Victims of Acid Attack in France. Such Attacks Rising Across Europe

Acid attacks are on the rise across much of Europe, with four young American tourists among the most recent victims.

On Sunday, four American tourists were attacked with acid in France. French authorities refused to immediately label the attack as a terrorist incident. One 41 year old woman has been arrested in relation to the attack. The American tourists were all female and described as being in their mid-twenties.

The extent of the injuries inflicted was not immediately known. However, all four women were hospitalized. Reportedly, two of them suffered attacks to the face, with at least one having suffered damage to an eye. Two of the women were believed to have suffered minor injuries, but were hospitalized for shock.

French authorities have claimed that the woman who carried out the attacks is mentally unstable and did not flee the scene

The incident occurred at a train station in Marseille, which is situated in Southern France, on the Mediterranean Sea. It’s believe that the attack was carried out with an industrial cleaning agent that contained hydrochloric acid.

French authorities have claimed that the woman who carried out the attacks is mentally unstable and did not flee the scene. As of Sunday afternoon, the incident had not been labeled a terrorist attack, but authorities did not rule the motive out either.

Why Acid Attacks Are So Popular

Acid attacks seem to be becoming all the more common, especially in Europe where tight gun controls have forced would-be terrorists and others to seek out different weapons. Acid is relatively cheap and easy to acquire, and is used in many cleaning and industrial applications. Acid can be bought online in the United Kingdom and elsewhere for only a few dollars. Security checks and restrictions are almost non-existent.

The United Kingdom has seen a dramatic increase in acid attacks over the past few years, with attacks doubling in 2016 from previous years.

Historically, acid was popular in crimes of passion. Lovers would use acid to permanently scar the people who scorned or betrayed them. Acid attacks inflict immense pain, leave people scarred for life, and sometimes kill their victims. Acid is also effective for attacking crowds as throwing a large amount of acid into a crowd can injure numerous people in one go.

The scars left are often horrific and difficult, if not impossible, to repair. Many people lose eyes and ears as a result of acid attacks. Even immediate medical treatment may not be enough to mitigate serious damage as acid takes only seconds to soak into the skin. If acid penetrates to the bone or vital organs, it can be fatal.

When Clement met with Rybicka to sign the check and say goodbye, she shot him four times and smashed a bottle of acid over his face,

Perhaps the most infamous acid attack occurred in Austria in 1916, when Prince Leopold Clement of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was killed by his mistress, Camilla Rybicka. While a member of the court, Rybicka was also a commoner. Prince Clement had promised to marry Rybicka, but upon realizing that his father would strip him of his officer’s commission and inheritance, he reneged on his pledge.

Clement offered Rybicka 4 million Austro-Hungarian krones as compensation. However, when Clement met with Rybicka to sign the check and say goodbye, she shot him four times and smashed a bottle of acid over his face, before shooting herself fatally in the heart. Amazingly, Clement didn’t die immediately, but instead survived for another six months, much of it in agony, before succumbing to his wounds.

Now, acid attacks have become popular in Pakistan and other parts of South Asia. Often, the attacks have been carried out by men against women. However, men have been targeted as well, and in the United Kingdom actually make up the majority of victims. The United Kingdom has seen a dramatic increase in acid attacks over the past few years, with attacks doubling in 2016 from previous years.

Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is an OpsLens Contributor and political consultant. Brinker has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.