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VOL. X, Issue 6

Jihadi Terrorism in Europe: The IS-Effect

The article examines the extent to which Islamic State (IS) has affected jihadi terrorism in Europe. We look at the scope of attack activity, perpetrators and their networks, modus operandi and funding. For all the talk of a new threat we argue that, apart from scope, less is new than most assume. IS wants largely the same as al-Qaida did by attacking Europe. Their tactics are similar and their networks overlap in time and space. The core dynamics of the threat endure. It is premature to talk of a new paradigm in recruitment, but more terrorists are instructed online than before. Patterns in funding remain relatively stable, but there is an increase in plots financed from abroad. Despite military setbacks, IS remains a formidable terrorist actor, with territorial control, economic muscle and thousands of Europeans in its ranks. These things, combined with the group’s skillful social media usage, are exhausting European security services’ capacities. So is the refugee situation, which is exploited by IS to transfer personnel. If IS’s territorial control persists, we foresee attempts at large-scale operations, including attempts at using improvised chemical or radiological devices. If IS continues to lose ground, small-scale attacks by single actors will become even more frequent.

About ICCT

The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) is a think-and-do tank based in The Hague, Netherlands. We provide research, policy advice, training and other solutions to support better counter-terrorism policies and practices worldwide. We also contribute to the scientific and publi.…