RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – France recorded more arrests for planning Islamist terrorist attacks in 2021 than any other European country. Accordingly, the “Grande Nation” is a hotbed of Islamist terror in the European Union.
The sociopolitical approach of French policy toward Muslim immigrants has failed. In recent decades, heavy immigration from the former colonies has led to forming complete parallel societies across the country and increasing radicalization among Muslims. However, this also affects security in the country and Europe.
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According to the latest Europol report, more Islamist terrorist attacks were committed or foiled in France last year, and more people were arrested in connection with jihadist terrorist attacks than in any other EU member state.
The Situation and Development of Terrorism Report published this week by the EU law enforcement agency shows that 11 Islamist terrorist attacks were attempted on European soil in 2021, eight of which were foiled and three successfully executed.
These figures represent a significant improvement over 2020, when out of 14 attempted terrorist attacks, only four were foiled, and ten were executed.
Of the 11 attacks planned by Islamic extremists last year, five targeted France, two were designed in Germany, and one each was reported in Denmark, Hungary, Spain, and Sweden.
The foiled attack in Hungary was linked to the June 1 arrest in Kecskemét of a Hungarian national suspected of planning a terrorist attack in Hungary.
The individual allegedly pledged allegiance to IS and “expressed the intention to carry out attacks with explosive devices and ramming attacks on facilities related to the European Football Championship,” the report said. “Among other preparatory acts, he had obtained materials to make pipe bombs,” it adds.
Other foiled attacks were linked to 13 arrests in Denmark on Feb. 6-8. The individuals were arrested for planning a terrorist attack with firearms and explosive devices; five of the 13 were eventually charged. Also, on Nov. 29, two men in France were charged with planning a knife attack during the Christmas holiday.
France continued to be the EU member state with the most arrests for suspected jihadist terrorist attacks on its territory in 2021.
Of the total 260 arrests across the EU, France accounted for 96, followed by Spain and Germany with 39 and 24 arrests, respectively. The total number of arrests was in line with the 254 arrests in 2020 but decreased significantly compared to the 436 arrests in 2019.
According to the Europol report, of the jihadist suspects arrested in 2021, 80 percent were male, with an average age of 33. “The vast majority of suspects were either citizens of a non-EU country or EU citizens born outside the EU,” the report said.
Morocco, Algeria, and Pakistan were the most popular nationalities among non-EU citizens arrested. The report added that the threat of jihadist terrorism in the EU “is most likely to materialize in attacks by individuals,” pointing to the three completed attacks in the EU last year, all perpetrated by lone actors.
“Small ad hoc groups also pose a risk, as they can be easily formed and are difficult to identify and monitor,” the report said. The report also highlighted that terrorist groups are more likely to be detected by authorities in the planning stages, and their plans foiled “because a higher level of organization is required to coordinate a more complex attack.”