The Observatory for Extremist and Takfiri Thoughts, affiliated with the Egyptian Dar Al-Ifta institute, suggested that competition is likely to take place between Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda to execute terrorist operations in Europe in the upcoming period.
In a statement issued Sunday, the observatory said “by following and analysing reports published by different news outlets of the terrorist IS organisation, it has been revealed that the terrorist organisation seeks to change the way it operates its future operations in Europe, using car bombs.”
The observatory said that its findings were confirmed in the recent report issued by Europol’s European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC), which also asserted that “Libya could develop into a springboard for IS after Syria, for attacks in the European Union (EU) and the North African region.”
The report warned that besides IS, groups and individuals affiliated to or inspired by Al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra “continue to pose a serious threat to European member states and to western interests in general.”
Among the attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda in Europe was the shooting of the staff of Charlie Hebdo in Paris in 2015. Europol’s report stressed that the shooting is “still a factor to be considered and a reason for the EU to focus on a broader range of religiously inspired groups.”
The report, titled “Changes in Modus Operandi of IS revisited” was published on Friday. It further stated that “if IS is defeated or severely weakened in Syria/Iraq, there may be an increased rate in the return of foreign fighters and their families from the region to the EU or to other conflict areas, such as Libya,” posing a potential security risk for the union if fighters manage to enter the EU.
“EU member states that participate in the anti-IS coalition are regarded by IS as legitimate targets. IS appears to have a preference for attacking soft targets as a means to instil maximum fear in the general public,” Europol’s report added. According to the figures it provided, 150 people were killed in 2015 in jihadist terrorist attacks in the EU, of which the majority were killed in France.
As for the methods, the report expected that the use of car bombs, extortion, and kidnappings may emerge as the primary means of attack in the EU.
According to Europol’s director Rob Wainwright, widespread threats triggered “intensified cooperation between police and security services across the European continent, leading to an increase of arrests and plots foiled before terror attacks could be carried out.”
“Nevertheless, the report shows that the threat is still high and includes diverse components which can only be tackled by even better collaboration,” Wainwright added in a Friday press release.