Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, said that the number of people arrested on the charges of suspicion of Islamic terrorism in Europe went up last year for the third year in a row. The agency arrested more than 700 terror suspects compared to 687 in 2015 and 395 in 2014. An Europol report also said that the number of jihadist attacks decreased from 17 in 2015 to 13 last year of which 6 were linked to the Islamic State.
The report ‘EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report’ further added that there had been a rise in violent attacks of non-Islamic right-wing groups. Europol said that last year there was a total of 142 “failed, foiled and completed attacks” reported by eight member states coming from all jihadist, non-jihadist and other sources. According to the report, the largest number of the attacks was carried out by “ethno-nationalist and separatist extremists” while attacks by left-wing extremists have been on the rise since 2014.
The EU’s Commissioner for the Security Union, Julian King, said the number underlines the importance of tighter collaboration in intelligence sharing. “Terrorists do not respect or recognize borders,” he said and added that an important development in the area of counter-terrorism policy is the fact that women are playing an increasingly important role in extremist attacks. “Female militant jihadists in the West perceive fewer obstacles to playing an operative role in a terrorist attack than men, and successful or prevented attacks carried out by women in Western countries may act as an inspiration to others,” the report said.