Periphery attackers pose different kind of terror threat for Europe

Anthony Glees
Updated 15 October 2017
0

Periphery attackers pose different kind of terror threat for Europe

LONDON: Terror experts have highlighted the mounting threat posed by low-profile Islamic extremists following a series of attacks across Europe.
Policy makers are increasingly focused on identifying the danger from periphery plotters in an effort to detect hitherto off-the-radar radicals at risk of being drawn deeper into the terrorist activity.
“As Daesh is being slowly taken apart, it will be vital to ensure that those who may previously have kept away from the fray will not now be drawn into it,” said Professor Anthony Glees, director of the Center for Security and Intelligence Studies (BUCSIS) at The University of Buckingham.
With the disintegration of Daesh’s self-proclaimed caliphate in Syria and Iraq, commentators have warned of an evolving threat across Europe as individuals, who might previously have tried to travel to Syria, look to carry out attacks at home.
“The threat picture has moved in such a way that people considered to be peripheral before are becoming center of the plot,” said Rafaello Pantucci, the director for International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies.
“If you look at the plotting we’ve seen across Europe, there have been far fewer large-scale actors planning complicated operations and much more of these low-level attacks.”
Policy makers, he said, are adapting their response to match the shifting threat from “these random isolated individuals launching this sort of lower-level attack across the continent.”
“Everybody is facing a similar problem,” he continued, pointing to discussions in Germany around changing the laws on how authorities listen in on people, France’s plans to centralize and share intelligence and a spate of deportations in Italy as authorities expel more individuals suspected of having having terrorist ties.
In the UK, new sentencing guidelines have been drawn up to impose tougher punishment on terrorist plotters, targeting those with lower levels of involvement in response to the growing trend toward less sophisticated methods of attack.
Speaking to Arab News in the wake of a recent attack at London’s Parsons Green station, where a home-made bucket bomb was detonated on a District Line tube injuring 30 people, Dr. Abdullah Khaled Al-Saud, a Visiting Fellow at ICSR, King’s College London said: “It has become increasingly difficult for security forces to defend against every possible terrorist attack, especially given the fact that the pattern and nature of terrorist attacks have changed in recent years.”
“Groups have been encouraging their followers to avoid complex and highly coordinated operations, and focus instead on attacks that are very simple to carry out, the ones that would only require a kitchen knife or a rented car or truck.”
In a draft version of the guidelines, the Sentencing Council for England and Wales emphasised the danger of the current climate, “Where a terrorist act could be planned in a very short time using readily available items as weapons” and where “acts of terrorism can be committed by many rather than a few highly-organized individuals.”
Describing the move as a “proportionate response,” Fiyaz Mughal, director of Faith Matters, an organization supporting community integration in the UK, pointed to the “sheer number of plots that are taking place and people ending up supporting the cause.”
“The Daesh ideology has created quite a fanbase and the problem is going to be with us for at least a couple of years.”
“It is important to review the legislation regularly in response to rapidly changing political scenarios,” he said.
Pantucci described the difficulty of responding to a much more diffuse pattern and methodology of terrorism. “Legislation hasn’t kept up with the reality of the threat,” he said, adding that it’s increasingly hard to tell where this is coming from.
“Periphery players keep turning out to be the ones trying to launch an attack so it’s becoming very difficult to calibrate.”


Suicide attack on Kabul voter registration center kills 12, injures dozens

Updated 21 min 47 sec ago
0

Suicide attack on Kabul voter registration center kills 12, injures dozens

KABUL: Afghan officials say the toll from a suicide bombing in Kabul has climbed to at least 12 killed and 57 wounded.
Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro said the toll from Sunday's attack, originally placed at four dead and 15 wounded, could climb further.
The suicide bomber targeted a crowd that had gathered to pick up national identification cards at a voter registration center in the capital.
"It happened at the entrance gate of the centre. It was a suicide attack. There are casualties," Dawood Amin, city police chief, told AFP.
Health ministry spokesman Waheed Majroh said at least four people had been killed and 15 wounded.
Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish confirmed the death toll but put the number of wounded at 20.
The centre was also being used by people to register for national identification certificates.
The attack happened in a heavily Shiite-populated neighbourhood in the west of the city. Footage on Ariana TV showed pools of blood and shattered glass on the street.
Angry crowds shouted "Death to the government!" and "Death to the Taliban!" There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Photos posted on social media purportedly of the site showed several bodies on the ground and a badly damaged two-storey building.
Afghanistan began registering voters on April 14 for the long-delayed legislative elections, which are seen as a test-run for the presidential poll next year.
Election officials have acknowledged that security is a major concern as the Taliban and other militant groups control or contest large swathes of the country.
Afghan police and troops have been tasked with protecting polling centres, even as they struggle to get the upper hand against insurgents on the battlefield.
Militants on Friday launched rockets at a voter registration centre in the northwestern province of Badghis.
At least one police officer was killed and another person was wounded, officials said, blaming the Taliban.
On Tuesday gunmen attacked a voter registration centre in the central province of Ghor, kidnapping three election workers and two policemen.
Taliban militants released the five on Thursday.
Over the next two months, authorities hope to register up to 14 million adults at more than 7,000 polling centres for the parliamentary and district council elections.
Officials have been pushing people to register amid fears a low turnout will undermine the credibility of the polls.
President Ashraf Ghani last week urged religious leaders to use Friday prayers to encourage worshippers to sign up.
He also called on provincial governors to tell their employees to register themselves and family members.