Thursday 22 March 2018

Isil-linked terrorist plots against West 'increasing'

Police and forensics teams in Verviers after two men were killed during an anti-terrorist operation earlier this year
Police and forensics teams in Verviers after two men were killed during an anti-terrorist operation earlier this year

Raziye Akkoc

Islamic State-linked terror plots are increasing, with attacks on the West foiled or taking place at a rate of more than two a month, according to a new study.

Since last year, nine attacks unfolded out of a total of 32 Isil-inspired plots, or 2.3 a month, the Henry Jackson Society (HJS) think tank has said.

Although the US is under greater threat of attacks, countries in Europe have seen a higher number of deaths resulting from attacks.

According to the report author, Robin Simcox, there are likely to be many more attacks planned that the public is not aware of. The research fellow at HJS pointed to the recent drone strikes on extremists in Syria planning to attack the UK.

Mr Simcox said the majority of attacks or plots foiled were in the US, Australia and France

He added: "There are all sorts of things we can do to try and reduce the threat but if you look at the nature of the plots taking place in Europe, they involve guns and knives."

The report found that only one attack had been directly organised by Isil itself, involving fighters who had previously travelled to Syria and Iraq.


Belgian secret service agents called in the armed police raid in Verviers when intelligence indicated that a terror cell was about to carry out an attack

Terrorists in Verviers, eastern Belgium were planning an attack after they had returned home from the Middle East. Special forces raided the apartment of Marouane el-Bali, Sofiane Amghar and Khalid Ben Larbi, who were heavily armed and opened fire with Kalashnikovs and grenades.

Amghar and Ben Larbi were killed while Bali was arrested and and charged.

Mr Simcox said he feared that there could be more crude attacks of the type called for by Isil spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani in September last year.

He said: "That ideology and that instruction (from al-Adnani) and that propaganda drive people into this kind of crude attack."

He pointed to recent plots where terrorists or would-be terrorists moved away from al-Qaeda-type bombmaking plans to "much more low-grade, crude attacks using guns and vehicles".

The majority of attacks foiled or those that have taken place targeted the public

He said there was "a clear link between the instruction by al-Adnani to carry out these attacks and then the blossoming in the months afterwards".

Irish Independent

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