Europol Report analyses threat of terror "France-Spain-UK countries most severely affected by terrorism"
May 2, 2007
Europol report analyses threat of terror
On 10 April Europol published its first EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT 2007). The report indicates that 498 attacks were carried out by Islamist, separatist, left-wing and anarchist terrorist groups in eleven EU member states in 2006. A total of 706 individuals suspected of terrorism offences were arrested in 15 member states in 2006.The report was presented in the European Parliament in Brussels by Director Max-Peter Ratzel. He stated that, even though not a new phenomenon, the posed by terrorism to member states is more serious than ever.
TE-SAT 2007 for the first time collates all statistical data on the terrorist attacks and plots in the EU. It provides details on the where, whom and how of terrorist activities. According to Ratzel "this important report contributes to the counter-terrorist activities of the EU. The document also shows the increasing level of trust that member states are demonstrating in the area of mutual counter-terrorist cooperation, also facilitated by Europol".
A large number of various types of terrorist organisations have an active presence in the EU, the report says. Some of them aim at member states or non-EU state targets situated in member states, whereas some others who conduct their campaigns mainly outside the Union use the EU as their logistical base or for fundraising.
Investigations into Islamist terrorism are clearly a priority for the member states' law enforcement as demonstrated by the number of arrested suspects. The small number of suspects arrested for dissemination of propaganda may indicate the lack of legal basis and difficulty in investigating these types of crimes.
France, Spain and the UK are the countries most severely affected by terrorism as concluded from the number of terrorist attacks and arrested suspects as well as the average penalties handed out by the courts.
Half of all the terrorism arrests were related to Islamist terrorism. France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands had the highest number of arrests of Islamist terrorist suspects. The majority of the arrested suspects were born in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia and had loose affiliations to north African terrorist groups, such as the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group and the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat.
However, the suspects involved in the foiled plots reported by the UK and Denmark were born or raised in an EU member state.
The frequency of video statements by members of the original al-Qaeda leadership and other Islamist terrorists shows a marked increase.
In 2006, separatist terrorists carried out 424 attacks in the EU. The member states most affected were France - with 60 percent of the attacks - and Spain. Attacks were, for the most part, limited to the Basque regions and Corsica (the report cites Euskadi Ta Askatasuna - ETA - in Spain, separatist terrorists in Corsica, and the rise of fundraising activities by the PKK in the EU related to the escalation of the terrorist campaign of Kurdish terrorists in Turkey). Five attacks took place in the UK and one in Ireland. No group claimed responsibility for these attacks.
In 2006, left-wing and anarchist terrorists carried out 55 attacks in the EU. Their campaigns mainly targeted Greece, Italy, Spain and Germany. Left-wing and anarchist terrorists carried out a relatively high number of low-intensity attacks, which resulted in limited material damage against business and governmental targets. A minority of the attacks, however, were intended to kill or injure.
Right-wing violence is mainly investigated as right-wing extremism and not as right-wing terrorism. Although violent acts perpetrated by right-wing extremists and terrorists may appear sporadic and situational, right-wing extremist activities are organised and transnational.