Europol detects a growing female involvement in jihadist operations

Europol ,in its Report 2017 reflects a total of 14 trends and traces the general lines relevant to violent activities and all aspects of terrorism, devoting a large part of the report to jihadist-style terrorism. The level of Jihadist terrorism in the European Union is still high and 2016 came to a close with a total of 718 people arrested, of whom one in four were women, which means that females accounted for 26% of terrorism.

Current trends involve the actors being directed or inspired by Islamic State to stage accurately prepared spontaneous and effective attacks on an objective in order to create a great impact. The flow of migrants and refugees is expected to continue and for this to be exploited by Islamic State. Despite this, there is a decrease concerning the number of people travelling to conflict zones, but there are a large number of returnees, which may increase the threat to Europe. Moreover, the role of women and children in Jihadist-style terrorism is more and more representative.

As on other occasions, Islamic State formulated rules of behaviour that women had to abide by particularly focused in accordance with having children and educating them in the group’s ideology and also on subservience to their husbands. Despite women being treated as inferiors, the group has used their features as a way to boost the recruitment of new combatants, and it has also favoured the involvement of female combatants as a participative group in the perpetration of violent acts.

The terrorist threat developed by individuals and groups is inspired by propaganda and Jihadist messages. Jihadist terrorism makes use of social network platforms and the media to communicate its message, with Dabiq being of note on behalf of Islamic State and Inspire in the case of Al-Qaeda. The latter insists on the importance of the fact that it is prohibited for women to take part in terrorist acts. In 2016 a major decrease was noticed in Islamic State propaganda activities because of the greater pressure on the group in their field of activity. Moreover, the message during this period changed, substituting victorious Islamic rhetoric for the fight against the western Jewish-Shiite alliance.

The European Union and, in particular, the member states that make up the coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria feel threatened by international terrorism. According to Europol, these countries may be used for the circulation of foreign or returnee terrorist combatants. 2016 concluded with 142 failed, aborted or completed attacks in the Union, 47 of which materialised, causing the deaths of 142 people and wounding 379, almost all of these being victims of Jihadist terrorism.

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