Thursday

18th Jan 2018

EU police warn of new-model jihad threat

The EU's joint police body, Europol has noted there were no succesful Islamist attacks in Europe last year, while warning about future Toulouse-type 'lone wolves.'

Its report, out on Wednesday (25April), highlighted that "member states have not reported a single al-Qaeda affiliated or inspired terrorist attack actually carried out in 2011."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Online Islamist publications, such as the now-defunct Inspire magazine are seen as an important factor (Photo: wikipedia)

The development comes not for want of trying. "The al-Qaeda-affiliated or inspired threat towards Scandinavia and Germany rose steadily during 2011, whilst other member states, such as France, Spain and the UK, remained constant targets and centres for radical activities," it added.

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Romania also registered jihadist activity.

Police forces arrested 17 people for planning Islamist attacks, down from 89 in 2010. One man tried to bomb Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllandsposten, which published cartoons making fun of Mohammed in 2005. Another man tried to poison water supplies in Spain to avenge Osama bin Laden.

More than 60 arrests concerned suspected membership of groups such as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb or the Somalia-based al-Shabab. Another 40-or-so related to "terrorist propaganda," illicit financing or possession of arms and explosives.

The Europol survey came out one month after a man in Toulouse, France shot dead two French soldiers, three Jewish children and a Jewish schoolteacher. It also coincided with the trial of Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people in Norway last year in the name of "counter-jihad."

It made no mention of Toulouse, but it warned that an important new threat is "lone actors" inspired by jihadist websites, even though most loners are "largely amateur" and "impulsive" in their methods.

Other trends include kidnapping of EU citizens in Afghanistan-Pakistan, Bosnia, Lebanon, Nigeria and Morocco, as well as link-ups between jihadist groups and organised crime in eastern Europe.

It noted that US targetted assassination of prominent jihadists last year - such as Anwar al-Awlaki, Osama bin Laden and Samir Khan - "was a substantial blow" against al-Qaeda but "has not removed the threat."

Eurupol made little attempt to analyse the motives behind the crimes and no statement on the legality of the CIA assassination programme.

It noted that most of the perpetrators were non-EU-national young men who were "religiously-inspired" or "driven and sustained by geopolitical developments and changes in the Middle East, the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa." But some operations - such as the kidnapping for ransom of seven Estonians in Lebanon last year - "blurred the distinction between pure criminality and terrorism."

Europol director Robert Wainwright in his foreword defined terrorism as "the attempt to achieve political goals with the use or the threat of violence."

MEPs call for review of EU counter-terrorism policies

The European Parliament has called on member states to submit reports on the cost-efficiency of their counter-terrorism measures and their impact on civil liberties, with the European Commission set to produce an EU-wide evaluation.

MEPs target exports of cyber surveillance tech

MEPs have introduced a human rights clause into the export of cyber surveillance technology as part of EU-wide reforms to prevent abuse by autocratic regimes. The Strasbourg plenary will vote on the bill on Wednesday.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Next year's EU election at risk of Russian meddling
  2. Hungary to tax NGOs that 'help' migration
  3. Cyprus, Malta, and Russia gang up on whistleblower
  4. 'No backsliding' on Brexit promise, Irish PM warns
  5. Commission and council dig in on GMO opt-outs
  6. Ombudsman asks ECB chief to quit secret bankers group
  7. Polish Nazi-jibe MEP 'spams' EU inboxes
  8. Macron eyes France-UK border agreement