Separatist and far-right attacks have been on the rise in Europe – particularly in the UK, France and Spain – according to Europe, the EU’s law enforcement agency. In 2017, 205 terrorist attacks were either carried out, foiled or failed. More than one third of those were bombings and shootings in Northern Ireland. In 2016, there 142 attacks in total.
The rise in attacks in Northern Ireland is attributed to increased uncertainty regarding the post-Brexit future of the Good Friday Agreement and the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which will remain part of the bloc. The border was dismantled in 1998 during the culmination of the Northern Ireland peace process of the 1990s. The British authorities still list four “dissident republican” groups that still consider violence a legitimate tool to achieve a united Ireland. Many of the groups’ members are involved in criminal activities such as drug dealing, murder, smuggling and extortion.
While Jihadist attacks have become more frequent, they are also more rudimentary, many of them carried out by lone wolves, homegrown terrorists who ram cars into pedestrians. In France, there were 42 completed, foiled or foiled attacks carried out mostly by members of the Kurdish movement PKK targeting Turkish targets. Spain counted 7 attacks mostly linked to Basque separatists. Neo-Nazi attacks have been also on rise – throughout the continent – in France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK. “The violent right-wing extremist spectrum is expanding, partly fueled by fears of a perceived Islamization of society and anxiety over migration,” the Europol’s annual report, published Wednesday, said.