The greater complexity of the terrorist threat in 2018

The terrorist phenomenon continued to represent an important security threat for the European Union in 2018. This is what is explained in the latest report published by Europol – Europol’s 2019 EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) –which considers that the level of the terrorist threat has become more complex rather than decreasing.

In the sum of the terrorist attacks, thirteen people died and dozens were injured. With these figures and compared with 2017, the number of attacks and victims fell significantly with the number of terrorist groups being investigated and detained in the EU increasing.

The report on trends in the EU related to the situation and evolution of terrorism in 2018, is a document required by the European Parliament that offers a concise vision of the nature of the terrorist threat facing the EU.

Among the main trends stressed by the document are the following:

–       All terrorist attacks were of a Jihadist nature, committed by lone individuals and against the civil population.

–       The mental health problems of some perpetrators contributed to the complexity of the phenomenon. Jihadist attacks were carried out using firearms or non-sophisticated weapons that were easily accessible like knives.

–       The level of the terrorist threat throughout the EU continues to be high due to, among other factors, the significant number of attacks that were thwarted, and the 16 Jihadist terrorist groups arrested.

–       Three terrorist groups intercepted by the police in 2018 included the attempt to produce and/or use chemical and biological explosives and materials. An increase in the use of pyrotechnic mixes to produce explosive devices was also detected.

–       A general increase in propaganda and CBRN terrorist threats.

–       While minors are essentially victims, there is concern in member states of the EU as to whether they have been exposed to indoctrination and training and, therefore, have become a potential threat.

–       There is a concern as to why people with a criminal or prison record are vulnerable to indoctrination and can participate in terrorist activities.

–       The member states of the EU thinks that it is likely that the reduction in the territorial control of Islamic State will be substituted by an increase in Al Qaida efforts to recover power and influence.

–       While online propaganda remained technologically advanced and software pirates seem to have knowledge of encoded communication tools, the capacities and techniques of cyber-attacks from the groups were rudimentary.

–       In 2018, there was no terrorist group that displayed a capacity to carry out effective cyber-attacks.

–       The report also offers a general vision of the terrorist situation outside the EU, including conflict areas Like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.


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