For­eign-born ter­ror­ists be­hind ma­jor­ity of ex­trem­ist at­tacks on western coun­tries

The National - News - - NEWS - THE NA­TIONAL

Two thirds of Is­lamist ex­trem­ist at­tacks on western tar­gets were car­ried out by for­eign-born ter­ror­ists last year de­spite govern­ment fears of an in­creased threat from home­grown rad­i­cals and re­turn­ing fight­ers from Syria, ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished yes­ter­day.

An anal­y­sis of 122 at­tacks com­mit­ted in 2016 and 2017 high­lighted the chang­ing na­ture of mod­ern ter­ror­ism with a slight de­cline in the num­ber of plots con­nected to ISIS but a rise in at­tacks by far-right groups.

About 280 peo­ple were killed and nearly 2,000 in­jured in western democ­ra­cies with the UK, US and France bear­ing the brunt of vi­o­lence over the two years. The re­port by the Henry Jack­son So­ci­ety in Lon­don – Ter­ror­ism in the West: an age of

ex­tremes – showed that 84 per cent of deaths were at­trib­uted to at­tacks by rad­i­cal Mus­lims.

The role of over­seas-born fight­ers in such at­tacks – up from 40 per cent in 2016 – was in part caused by fail­ures of so­cial in­te­gra­tion, poor bor­der se­cu­rity checks and fail­ures of in­tel­li­gence, ac­cord­ing to the re­port’s au­thor, Tom Wil­son.

He high­lighted the role of Moroc­can-born ter­ror­ists in the 2017 at­tacks in Barcelona and nearby Cam­brils that left 16 dead when pedes­tri­ans were mown down by a van driven by a mem­ber of the gang on the fa­mous La Ram­bla thor­ough­fare. Many of those in­volved in the plot had lived in Spain for years.

In con­trast, an Iraqi teenager who left a home-made bomb on a Lon­don Un­der­ground train last year had claimed asy­lum in the UK only the pre­vi­ous year when he said that he had been trained to kill by ISIS.

“A few came sim­ply as ter­ror­ists but for the sole pur­poses of ter­ror­ism,” he said, high­light­ing a ma­chete at­tack by an Egyp­tian na­tional on a sol­dier out­side the Lou­vre mu­seum in Paris. The at­tacker had trav­elled to France on a tourist visa.

The data showed that the num­ber of at­tacks by far-left and far-right ter­ror­ist groups al­most reached the lev­els of Is­lamist-in­spired groups in 2017.

The sharp rise in far-right ac­tiv­ity – pre­dom­i­nantly in the United States – ap­peared to cor­re­spond with on­line ac­tiv­ity that sought to ex­ploit is­sues such as the mi­grant cri­sis and ter­ror­ism.

“Given the vol­ume and tone of this con­tent, it is not sur­pris­ing that we are now see­ing an in­crease in vi­o­lence,” Mr Wil­son said.

About 280 peo­ple were killed and nearly 2,000 in­jured in western democ­ra­cies in two years

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