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Isis likely to attack Europe again soon

A new report says IS will likely target countries that are members of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the extremist organisation.

People pay tribute to the victims at the site of a deadly truck attack on the famed Promenade des Anglais in Nice, southern France in July.
People pay tribute to the victims at the site of a deadly truck attack on the famed Promenade des Anglais in Nice, southern France in July.
Image: Francois Mori/PA

THE ISLAMIC STATE group is likely to carry out new attacks in the European Union in the near future, according to a new report from EU police agency Europol.

The report states that IS will likely target countries that are members of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the extremist organisation in Syria and Iraq.

“Estimates from some intelligence services indicate several dozen people directed by IS may be currently present in Europe with a capability to commit terrorist attacks,” according to the report.

The analysis draws on counterterrorism intelligence from around Europe and also cites media reports and previously publicised calls by IS leaders for attacks.

But IS also is adept at inspiring marginalised youths, some of whom may have mental health problems, and inciting them to carry out attacks.

The report also warns that tactics the group uses in Iraq and Syria – such as the use of car bombs – could also be deployed in Europe.

It also said that past attacks such as those in France and Belgium over the last two years show that extremists acting in the name of IS can effectively plan complex attacks.

Europol also notes a shift in attacks from symbolic targets like police officers and military personnel to indiscriminate attacks on soft targets, such as the Paris attacks in 2015.

Netherlands Europol Security Breach The Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands. Source: AP Photo/Mike Corder, File

“Indiscriminate attacks have a very powerful effect on the public in general, which is one of the main goals of terrorism: to seriously intimidate a population,” the report says.

It also adds that the focus on so-called soft targets means that attacking critical infrastructure like power grids and nuclear facilities is “currently not a priority”.

Europol also says that the consensus among intelligence agencies in EU member states is that “the cyber capabilities of terrorist groups are still relatively low”.

However, it adds that “the possibility of terrorist-affiliated cyber groups engaging in cyber warfare sponsored by Nation States – those with capacities to engage in this type of attacks – should not be discounted”.

Meanwhile, a police raid in Morocco in February may have thwarted a possible attack by an IS cell using chemical or biological weapons, raising the specter that such weapons also could be used in Europe,

However, the report says automatic firearms, knives and vehicles are more easily available and that

“The effectiveness, ease of use and access of these weapons will continue to be relevant.

Read: ‘You could be wiped out at any moment’: Irishman on fighting Isis in Syria

Read: The US State Department has issued a terror travel alert for Europe

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Associated Press

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