Europe’s top law enforcement agency says explosives that mimic those used in Syria and Iraq are a leading threat to the European Union, along with returning fighters and would-be jihadis blocked from traveling to the war zone.
In a report Thursday summarizing trends from 2016 , Europol says Islamic extremists bent on attacking Europe are trending younger and more of them are female than ever before.
Arrests for jihadi activities rose last year for the third year in a row: from 395 in 2014 to 718 in 2016.
Nearly a third of those arrested were 25 or younger.
The report says governments are paying close attention to the use of drone explosives by the Islamic State group in Iraq, for fear that homegrown extremists will replicate the weapons.
Julian King, EU Commissioner for the Security Union: ‘In the most recent terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough Market the victims had many nationalities.
‘Terrorists do not respect or recognise borders and in our resolve to defeat them we must draw on a new-found determination to work together, sharing information and expertise. We are stronger together.’
Rob Wainwright, Europol Executive Director: ‘Never before has the need for information sharing become more evident as it has in the past two years, with the unprecedented form of jihadist terrorist attacks across Europe that led to 135 victims.
‘In contrast to ethno-nationalist and separatist terrorism, and most manifestations of both right-wing and left-wing violent extremism, jihadist terrorism has an international character and therefore needs an international answer from cross-border law enforcement.’