More than 140 attempted terror attacks in Europe in 2016

Europe faced 142 attacks in 2016, with Islamic attacks responsible for the majority of fatalities. 

Europe faced 142 “failed, foiled and completed” terror attacks across the Continent in 2016, according to a new report issued by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol).

More than half of the attacks, 76, were reported by the United Kingdom. France reported 23 attacks, Italy 17, Spain 10, Greece six, Germany five, Belgium four, and the Netherlands one attack.

The attacks claimed 142 lives and injured 379.

Europol cited a number of significant terror sources, but called Islamic terrorism the “most serious” form, responsible for the majority of casualties.

While only 13 attacks could be described as motivated by Islam, Europol noted these were the most lethal and responsible for 135 of the 142 terror fatalities across Europe during 2016.

Some 99 attacks were perpetrated by ethno-nationalist and separatist extremists, Europol said. Left-wing terrorism was on the rise as well, with 27 incidents, mostly in Italy.

Just over 1,000 people were arrested for terror offenses last year. Most arrests were related to jihadist terrorism, for which the number rose for the third consecutive year: 395 in 2014, 687 in 2015 and 718 in 2016.

About 40 percent of terrorist plots in Europe are believed to be at least partly financed through crime, especially drug dealing, theft, robberies, the sale of counterfeit goods, loan fraud, and burglaries.

Some 40 percent of attacks utilized explosives, and authorities expressed concern that terrorists with experience gained in the Iraqi and Syrian conflict zones, under Islamic State (ISIS) tutelage, could also use drones, readily available on the consumer market as weapons platforms.

Also of concern was the use of terrorists disguised as refugees sent by ISIS to Europe.

Women and young adults, and even children, are playing increasingly operational roles in committing terrorist activities, the report noted.

European officials quoted in the report expressed an interest in deepening multilateral information sharing and operational capabilities as part of a broader counter-terrorism strategy.

Rob Wainwright, Europol Executive Director, stressed that “never before has the need for information sharing become more evident as it has in the past two years, with the unprecedented form of jihadist terrorist attacks across Europe that led to 135 victims. In contrast to ethno-nationalist and separatist terrorism, and most manifestations of both right-wing and left-wing violent extremism, jihadist terrorism has an international character and, therefore, needs an international answer from cross-border law enforcement.”

By: World Israel News Staff