EU marks record-high number of terrorist attacks in 2015, says Europol

Majority of the incidents were reported in the UK
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Incidence of terrorist attacks across the European Union member states has increased by 5 percent in 2015, according to the Europol.

At least 211 terrorist attacks were carried out across Europe in 2015, recent data from the European Union law enforcement agency reveal.

According to the Europol, the 2015 figure shows a 5 percent increase in terrorist attacks recorded in 2014. Yet, the latest record is considered the highest since monitoring of terrorist activities that took place within EU member states began in 2006.

The EU Terrorism Situation and Report (TE-SAT) 2016 shows that the UK had the highest number of attacks, 103 incidents out of the total 211, and most of the attacks were carried out in Northern Ireland. France follows with 73 attacks, Spain with 25, Italy and Greece with four incidents each, and Denmark with 2.

As a result of the record-high terrorist attacks, 148 people have died and over 350 others were injured. It also led to the arrest of 1,077 individuals for terrorism-related offenses, most of whom (424) were attested in France alone. Data also shows that 94 percent of the arrested individuals for jihadist terrorism were found guilty and were eventually prosecuted.

However, Europol notes that terrorist attacks linked to separatist terrorism have been continuously dropping from 167 in 2012, 84 in 2013, 67 in 2014, and finally 65 in 2015.

Separatist terrorism, nevertheless, was the top-rated category, as jihadist terrorism trails behind with 17 attacks in 2015.

'Massive number'

Citing the report, Europol director Rob Wainwright said, “in 2015, the European Union experienced a massive number of casualties caused by terrorist attacks.”

“In this context, Europol made use of its unique capabilities to focus on supporting operational investigations to prevent terrorist attacks and identify and disrupt terrorists. The increased cooperation resulted in a much richer strategic intelligence picture, strengthening the 2016 TE-SAT report and Europol’s ability to advise political leaders and legislators and inform national authorities in the setting of threat levels,” he added.

While the Europol admitted that there is no evidence that terrorist travellers blend with refugees entering the EU, it said that perpetrators of the Nov. 13, 2015 attacks in Paris had entered the EU through Greece as part of the large influx of refugees from Syria. The Europol report also suggest that a significant percentage of foreign terrorist from Syria or Iraq are now female.

“The overall threat is reinforced by the substantial numbers of returned foreign terrorist fighters that many EU Member States now have on their soil, and the significant rise in nationalist (xenophobic), racist and anti-Semitic sentiments across the EU, each resulting in acts of right-wing extremism,” the Europol added.

To recall, at least 84 people perished during the July 14 Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France. And just recently, three travellers were seriously injured in a train attack in Bavaria last Monday.