The Malta Independent 20 January 2022, Thursday

EU terrorism figures 2016: 142 failed, foiled or completed attacks, 142 victims

Julian Bonnici Thursday, 15 June 2017, 17:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

In 2016, a total of 142 failed, foiled and completed terrorist attacks in the European Union saw 142 victims die and 379 people injured, an EU Terrorism and Situation report that was presented at Europe House in Valletta has revealed.

The attacks occurred in eight member states, more than half (76) of them were reported by the United Kingdom. France reported 23 attacks, Italy 17, Spain 10, Greece 6, Germany 5, Belgium 4 and the Netherlands 1 attack.

1,002 persons were arrested for terrorist offences in 2016. 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. 

The report noted that women and young adults, and even children, are playing ever increasing operational roles in committing terrorist activities independently in the EU.

In fact, almost one-third of the total number of arrestees (291 of 1002) was 25 years old or younger.

The report also found that while a large number of terrorist attacks are not connected to jihadism, it does account for nearly all the reported fatalities and a majority of causalities.

It was noted that explosives were used in 40% of the attacks. 

“Even though terrorists use a wide range of readily available weapons, explosive devices continue to be used in terrorist attacks, due to their high impact and symbolic power.”

It warned that the current trend in using weaponised unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as a drone, in the Syria/Iraq conflict zone might also inspire other jihadist supporters and increase the use of this kind of tactic.

On the financing of terrorism, the report said that 40% 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.

Trends

The report compiled a number of trends such as that the largest number of attacks in which a terrorist affiliation could be identified were carried out by ethno-nationalist and separatist extremists (99).

It also found that attacks carried out by left-wing violent extremists have been on the rise since 2014; they reached a total of 27 in 2016, of which most (16) were reported by Italy.

Although the total number of jihadist terrorist attacks decreased from 17 in 2015 to 13 attacks in 2016, of which 6 were linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS), 135 of the 142 victims of terrorist attacks in 2016 were killed in the 13 jihadist attacks.

Speaking at a press conference held at Europe House, Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia said: “The recent attacks in London, Manchester and Paris represented a clear shift in the intent and capability of perpetrating these acts of terror designed to draw the attention of the free world.

The effects of such acts will remain in the collective memory of all who have freedom at heart. The memory of the innocent victims and the suffering of their families and loved ones will continue to fuel our commitment in working effectively towards the strengthening of the combined efforts and cooperation amongst all Member States.”

EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos who was at the press conference said that: “The recent terrorist attacks in Europe are a stark reminder of the need for all of us to work together more closely, and build on trust. Trust is the basis of effective cooperation. Fighting terrorism will remain at the top of our common political priorities for the time to come, not just in Europe but globally. For the safety of our citizens, and for the cohesion of our societies, we need to step up our information exchange and our cross-border cooperation at all levels.“

Europol Executive Director Rob Wainwright highlighted the importance of sharing information: “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.”

 

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