More than doubled the number of jihadist terrorist attacks last year in Europe compared to the previous year, but they had far fewer deaths than before – the EU Police Cooperation Organization (Europol) said on Thursday.
According to the assessment of the situation in The Hague, there were 33 reports of Islamist assassination in 2017, of which ten were “successful”, the others were frustrated or failed. They had altogether 62 dead. By contrast, “only” 13 attacks were registered in 2016, including ten “successful” attacks involving 135 human lives.
Overall, last year, 205 “successful”, failed and frustrated terrorist attacks were registered, 45 percent more than a year earlier. Most, 137, had an ethnonationalist, separatist motive, while 24 leftist-anarchists, and five were for extreme right-wing groups. With the jihadist attacks, these 68 dead and 844 wounded.
Europol reported that parallel to the increase in the number of attempted terrorist attacks, it seemed to have reduced the efficiency of their preparation and implementation.
The vast majority of perpetrators were born or lived in Europe, radicalized there, did not travel abroad, such as Syria, to join terror groups. The Islamic State (IA), a jihadist organization, has been significantly weakened recently, and therefore encourages its followers not to travel to the Middle East but to carry out assassinations at their place of residence, “the organization said.
“The current terrorist threat is essentially a domestic threat to domestic-based Islamists,” said Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic van Leeuw.
“The risk of jihadist attacks continues to be serious in the EU, as demonstrated by the 2017 bombings,” the report said.
Manuel Navarrette, Head of Europol’s Counter-Terrorism Center, said that there have not been a large number of Islamists who have traveled from Iraq to Iraq and Syrian territory for the time being. He added, security services continue to be their main task to follow up.
To date, about five thousand Europeans joining the terrorist groups in the Middle East have so far returned to the continent about 1500, and thousands have died. Many have been detained, others have moved to Libya or, for example, Malaysia, and others are hiding in other countries.
As you have said, in recent years, even in Europe, the attacks by “the lonely wolf” assailants in Europe have increased by simple means, such as attacks by car or knife. These typically require far fewer casualties than more complicated, blatant or firearms, but they are also harder to prevent them.
In the EU, a total of 975 people were arrested last year for crimes related to terrorism, most of them in connection with Islamist assassinations.