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Islamic terrorism in Europe

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a wreath of flowers that highlight many other gifts of flowers and candles outside a short metal fence around the area of investigation
Memorial to the people killed in the January 2015 Île-de-France attacks

Islamic terrorism in Europe has been carried out by Islamic State or Al-Qaeda operatives as well as Islamist lone wolves since the late 20th century.

In the early 2000s, most of the Islamic terrorist activity was linked to Al-Qaeda and the plots tended to involve groups carrying out co-ordinated bombings. The deadliest attacks of this period were the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 193 civilians (the deadliest Islamist attack in Europe), and the 7 July 2005 London bombings, which killed 52.

There was a rise in Islamic terrorist activity in Europe after 2014.[1][2][3] The years 2014–16 saw more people killed by Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe than all previous years combined, and the highest rate of attack plots per year.[4] Most of this terrorist activity was inspired by Islamic State,[4][5] and many European states have had some involvement in the military intervention against it. A small number of plots involved people who entered or re-entered Europe as asylum seekers during the European migrant crisis,[5][6] and some attackers had returned to Europe after fighting in the Syrian Civil War.[5] The Jewish Museum of Belgium shooting in May 2014 was the first attack in Europe by a returnee from the Syrian war.[7]

While most earlier Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe were carried out by groups and involved bombs, most attacks since 2014 have been carried out by individuals using guns, knives and vehicles.[8] A notable exception is the Brussels cell, which carried out two of the deadliest attacks of the period.

The deadliest attacks of this period have been the November 2015 Paris attacks (130 killed), the July 2016 Nice truck attack (86 killed), the June 2016 Atatürk Airport attack (45 killed), the March 2016 Brussels bombings (32 killed), and the May 2017 Manchester Arena bombing (22 killed). These attacks and threats have led to major security operations and plans such as Opération Sentinelle in France, Operation Vigilant Guardian and the Brussels lockdown in Belgium, and Operation Temperer in the United Kingdom.


Islamist terrorism in the European Union[9]
Year Attacks[a] Deaths[b]
2006 1 Not reported
2007 4 Not reported
2008 0 Not reported
2009 1 Not reported
2010 3 Not reported
2011 0 Not reported
2012 6 8
2013 0 1
2014 2 4
2015 17 150
2016 13 135
2017 33 62

The first incidents of Islamic terrorism occurred in France in 1995 when a network with ties to Algeria carried out a string of bombings in Paris in retaliation for French involvement in the Algerian Civil War.[10]

In the early 2000s, most of the Islamic terrorist activity was linked to Al-Qaeda and the plots tended to involve groups carrying out co-ordinated bombings. The deadliest attacks of this period were the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 193 civilians (the deadliest Islamist attack in Europe), and the 7 July 2005 London bombings, which killed 52.

Although militants in Syria had started to organize attacks in Europe by sending dozens of terrorist operatives to carry out attacks as early as 2012, security services in the mostly European countries they sought to attack did not see the arrested individuals as part of a network with a cohesive strategy. Instead the general consensus saw them as radicalized individuals. Many of these operatives were arrested, while others carried out unsophisticated attacks which low damage but still served to overload security services.[10]

Since 2014, more than 20 fatal attacks have been carried out in Europe. France saw eight attacks between January 2015 and July 2016;[11] this included the January 2015 Île-de-France attacks, the November 2015 Paris attacks, and the July 2016 Nice truck attack. The United Kingdom saw three major attacks carried out in a span of four months in early 2017 (Westminster attack, Manchester Arena bombing and London Bridge attack). Other targets in Europe have included Belgium, Germany, Russia, and Spain. The transcontinental city of Istanbul also saw both bombings and shootings, including in January 2016, June 2016 and January 2017.

In 2015, the Islamic State, which in 2014 had claimed that all Muslims were under a religious obligation to join it, declared that the only excuse for Muslims to not join the group in territories under its control was to perpetrate terrorist attacks in their current place of residence. According to Europol's annual report released in 2017, the Islamic State exploited the flow of refugees and migrants to commit acts of terrorism, which was a feature of the 2015 Paris attacks. In 2016 attack planning against Western countries took place in Syria and Iraq. Groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIL had the intent and capabilities to mount mass casualty attacks with volunteers.[12]

According to a review by Swedish news agency Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå, about two thirds of attackers in Western Europe (44 out of the 68 individuals involved in the total of 37 attacks between 2014 and August 2017) had been influenced by Islamic hate preachers and became radicalised as a result of personal contact, rather than online.[13]

In 2017, the EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove stated in an interview that there were more than 50,000 radicals and jihadists in Europe.[14] In 2016, French authorities stated that 15,000 of the 20,000 individuals on the list of security threats belong to Islamist movements.[15] After the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017, British authorities and MI5 estimated they had 500 ongoing investigations into 3,000 jihadist extremists as potential terrorist attackers, with a further 20,000 having been "subjects of interest" in the past, including the Manchester and Westminster attackers.[16] In 2017, German authorities estimated that there were more than 10,000 militant salafists in the country.[17]

According to a 2017 interview with Islamism expert Lorenzo G. Vidino in the aftermath of the 2017 Barcelona attacks, jihadi terrorists in Europe mobilized by the ISIL have tended to be second-generation immigrant Muslims.[18] Consequently, countries such as Italy and Spain with a smaller demographic in this category have experienced fewer attacks than countries in Central and Northern Europe such as France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium.[18]

According to the British think tank[19] ICSR, up to 40% of terrorist plots in Europe are part-financed through petty crime such as drug-dealing, theft, robberies, loan fraud and burglaries. Jihadists use ordinary crime as a way to finance their activity and have also argued this to be the "ideologically correct" way to wage jihad in non-Muslim lands.[20]

According to German anthropologist Susanne Schröter, attacks in European countries in 2017 showed that the military defeat of the Islamic State did not mean the end of Islamist violence. Schröter also compared the events in Europe to a jihadist strategy formulated in 2005 by Abu Musab al-Suri, where an intensification of terror would destabilise societies and encourage Muslim youth to revolt. The expected civil war never materialised in Europe, but did occur in other regions such as Libya, Syria, Iraq and the Philippines (Battle of Marawi).[21]

List of attacks


Date Location Article Details Deaths Injuries
November 2003 Turkey Istanbul, Turkey 2003 Istanbul bombings Four truck bombs targetting two Istanbul synagogues, an HSBC Bank skyscraper and the British Consulate resulted in the death of 57 civilians. The perpetrators were Al-Qaeda terrorists. The attack marked the beginning of continuing set of Islamic extremist terror attacks targetting Turkey. 57 700+
11 March 2004 Spain Madrid, Spain Madrid train bombings Ten bombs exploded almost simultaneously aboard four commuter trains in Madrid during rush hour, killing 193 civilians and injuring about 2,000. The bombs had been hidden in backpacks by a group of Islamists linked to Al-Qaeda. On 3 April, five suspects blew themselves up as police raided a flat in which they were hiding, killing themselves and a police officer. 193 2,000
2 November 2004 Netherlands Amsterdam, Netherlands Murder of Theo van Gogh Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was shot dead on a street in Amsterdam by Islamist Mohammed Bouyeri, a member of the 'Hofstad Network'. Van Gogh had received death threats for producing the film Submission with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which criticises the treatment of women in Islam. Bouyeri also attempted to behead Van Gogh and pinned a threatening letter to his body. He was arrested after a shootout with police. 1 2
7 July 2005 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom 7 July 2005 London bombings There were four co-ordinated suicide bombings in London during rush hour. Three Islamists blew themselves up aboard London Underground trains and another aboard a bus. Fifty-two civilians were killed and more than 700 were injured. On 21 July, another group of Islamists attempted a similar attack, but their bombs failed to detonate. 52 (+4 attackers) 784
30 June 2007 United Kingdom Glasgow, United Kingdom Glasgow Airport attack Two Islamists attempted to drive a jeep, loaded with propane tanks, into the main entrance of Glasgow Airport, Scotland. The jeep struck bollards and caught fire. One of the men threw petrol bombs while the other attempted to take out the propane tanks. They fought police and bystanders but were eventually subdued. The driver died of burns on 2 August. A day before the attack, the men had planted car bombs in London which failed to detonate. 0 (1 attacker) 5
9 July 2008 Turkey Istanbul, Turkey Istanbul US Consulate attack Three ethnic Kurds, allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda fired at the consulate. 3 Turkish police officers and 3 attackers died in the subsequent firefight.[citation needed] 3 (+3 attackers) 1
12 October 2009 Italy Milan, Italy
A Libyan man detonated an explosive device at the entrance to Santa Barbara military barracks in Milan, after being stopped by guards. The attacker was badly burned and a guard was injured.[22] 0 2
11 December 2010 Sweden Stockholm, Sweden 2010 Stockholm bombings There were two blasts in central Stockholm. A car bomb partly detonated, injuring two bystanders, and shortly after a suicide bomber blew himself up nearby. Only one of the pipe bombs he carried detonated and no bystanders were hurt. Europol classified the attack as Islamist terrorism.[23] 0 (1 attacker) 2
2 March 2011 Germany Frankfurt, Germany Frankfurt Airport shooting An Islamist gunman attacked a United States Air Force bus parked at Frankfurt Airport, shooting dead two US airmen and wounding two others, before being overpowered and arrested by police. 2 2
11–22 March 2012 France Toulouse and Montauban, France Toulouse and Montauban shootings An Islamist, Mohammed Merah, carried out a string of gun attacks on French soldiers and civilians. On 11 March he shot dead an off-duty soldier in Toulouse. On 15 March he shot three off-duty soldiers in Montauban, killing two. On 19 March, he opened fire at a Jewish school in Toulouse, killing a rabbi and three children. On 22 March, he was shot dead by police at his apartment after a lengthy standoff. 7 (+1 attacker) 5
19 September 2012 France Sarcelles near Paris, France Cannes-Torcy cell In 2012 two assailants threw a grenade at a kosher market in Sarcelles, Paris which wounding one person.[24] One of the grenade throwers and the leader of the cell, rapper Jérémie Louis-Sidney, was shot and killed during 6 October 2012 by BRI police from Strasbourg during his arrest.[25][26] In June 2017 Jérémy Bailly, the other grenade thrower, was sentenced to 28 years in prison for the grenade attacks, planning other jihadist attacks and for planning to join the conflict in Syria.[27] In total 18 cell members originating in Algeria, Laos and France were convicted in the trial and two were acquitted.[28] Seven of the convicted were associated with the Torcy mosque which was closed for promoting jihadism.[27] 1 attacker 1
22 May 2013 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom Murder of Lee Rigby An off-duty British soldier, Lee Rigby, was killed by two Islamists outside his barracks in London. The men ran him down with a car, then stabbed and hacked him to death with knives and a cleaver. They stood over the body and spoke to bystanders until police arrived. They charged at police and were shot and arrested. Europol classified the attack as religiously inspired terrorism.[29] 1 0
25 May 2013 France La Défense, France 2013 La Défense attack A French soldier on patrol was stabbed in the neck by a man in La Défense, near Paris. The attacker fled but was arrested four days later. Europol classified the attack as religiously inspired terrorism.[29] 0 1


Date Location Article Details Deaths Injuries
24 May 2014 Belgium Brussels, Belgium Jewish Museum of Belgium shooting A man opened fire in the Jewish Museum in Brussels, leaving four people dead. On 30 May, a man who in 2013 had fought for Islamists in the Syrian Civil War, was arrested in Marseille and admitted to the shooting.[30][31][7][needs update] Europol classified the attack as religiously inspired terrorism, and noted that the attack was the first by a returnee from the Syrian Civil War.[7] 4 0
20 December 2014 France Joué-lès-Tours, France 2014 Tours police station stabbing A man entered a police station shouting the Islamic takbir Allahu Akbar ("God is Great"), and attacked officers with a knife, injuring three before he was shot dead.[7][32][33] Europol classified the attack as religiously inspired terrorism.[7] 0 (+1 attacker) 3
21 December 2014 France Dijon, France 2014 Dijon attack A man deliberately drove a van into several groups of pedestrians, injuring 11 before being arrested. He shouted Allahu akbar during the attack and stated he was a "warrior for Islam". According to Europol, the attacker may have been only partly motivated by ideology and suffered from schizophrenia, but was nonetheless inspired by the modus operandi recommended in terrorist propaganda.[7] 0 11


According to Europol, terrorist attacks attributed to jihadists in the European Union increased from four in 2014 to seventeen in 2015, while the number of people killed increased from four to 150. Non-EU areas of Europe are not included in the Europol figures.[34]

In 2015, the terrorist threat level was zero in Poland, on its scale which has four levels plus the "zero level". About 20-40 Polish nationals had travelled to the conflict zone in Syria-Iraq.[35]

Date Location Article Details Deaths Injuries
7–9 January 2015 Turkey Istanbul, Turkey 2015 Istanbul suicide bombing A Dagestani wife of a Norwegian-Chechen IS fighter has detonated a bomb vest underneath a niqab she has worn at a Istanbul police station killing 1 officer.[citation needed] 1 (+1 attacker) 1
7–9 January 2015 France Île-de-France, France January 2015 Île-de-France attacks From 7 January 2015 to 9 January 2015, terrorist attacks occurred across the Île-de-France region, particularly in Paris. Three attackers killed a total of 17 in four shooting attacks, and police then killed the three assailants.[34][36][37] The main attacks were the Charlie Hebdo shooting and the Porte de Vincennes siege. The organization Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility and said that the coordinated attacks had been planned for years.[38] Europol classified the attacks as jihadist terrorism.[34] 17 (+3 attackers) 22
3 February 2015 France Nice, France 2015 Nice stabbing Three soldiers, guarding a Jewish community center in Nice, were attacked by a man with a knife. The attacker was arrested by police.[34][39][needs update] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[34] 0 3
14–15 February 2015 Denmark Copenhagen, Denmark 2015 Copenhagen shootings A man opened fire at an event at Krudttønden organized by Lars Vilks, known for his controversial drawings of Muhammad. Later, a Jewish man was shot outside the Great Synagogue. The attacker was later shot dead by police.[34][40] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[34] 2 (+1 attacker) 6
26 June 2015 France Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, France Saint-Quentin-Fallavier attack An attacker beheaded his employer, impaled his head on a fence, and then blew up gas cylinders at a factory by ramming his van into them. The attacker was arrested, but committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell later the same year.[34][39] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[34] 1 2
21 August 2015 France Oignies, France 2015 Thalys train attack A man threatened passengers with an assault rifle on a Thalys train between Amsterdam and Paris. One passenger was shot in the neck with a pistol when the rifle jammed.[34][41] Two United States military personnel and their civilian friend overcame the attacker.[42][needs update] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[34] 0 3 (+1 attacker)
17 September 2015 Germany Berlin, Germany Rafik Yousef An Iraqi citizen stabbed a German policewoman in the neck. He was then shot dead by another officer.[34][43] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[34] 0 (+1 attacker) 1
13–14 November 2015 France Paris and Saint-Denis, France November 2015 Paris attacks A series of co-ordinated attacks began over about 35 minutes at six locations in central Paris.[34] The first shooting attack occurred in a restaurant and a bar in the 10th arrondissement of Paris. There was shooting and a bomb detonated at Bataclan theatre in the 11th arrondissement during a concert by the Eagles of Death Metal. Approximately 100 hostages were then taken and overall 89 were killed there. Other bombings took place outside the Stade de France stadium in the suburb of Saint-Denis during a football match between France and Germany.[44] Europol classified the attacks as jihadist terrorism.[34] 130 (+7 attackers) 413


In 2016, a total of 135 people were killed in ten completed jihadist attacks in the European Union, according to Europol figures. Thirteen attacks were attempted. The number of arrests increased on the previous year, to 718. In France, the number of arrests increased from 377 in 2015 to 429 in 2016. One in four (26%) of those arrested in 2016 were women, an increase from 18% the previous year.[12] The threat in 2016 consisted of remotely directed individuals operating alone or in small groups. In addition to these, there were those that were inspired by propaganda but not instructed or directed.[12]

Date Location Article Details Deaths Injuries
7 January 2016 France Paris, France January 2016 Paris police station attack An asylum seeker wielding a knife and a fake bomb vest shouted "Allahu Akbar" outside a police station. He was shot dead by police as he tried to force his way in.[12][39] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 0 (+1 attacker) 1
11 January 2016 France Marseille, France
A 15-year-old Turkish boy, claiming to be "acting in the name of ISIL," attempted to behead a teacher from a Jewish school with a machete.[12][45][46] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 0 1
12 January 2016 Turkey Istanbul, Turkey January 2016 Istanbul bombing A suicide bomber blew himself up near Hippodrome of Constantinople near the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, killing 13 people and wounding another 9, most of whom were foreign tourists. No group claimed responsibility, but Turkish authorities suspected ISIL.[47] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 13 (+1 attacker) 9
26 February 2016 Germany Hanover, Germany Hanover stabbing A police officer was critically injured in a stabbing attack by a 15-year-old girl. Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 0 1
19 March 2016 Turkey Istanbul, Turkey March 2016 Istanbul bombing A suicide bombing took place in Istanbul's Beyoğlu district in front of the district governor's office. The attack occurred at 10:55 (EET) at the intersection of Balo Street with İstiklal Avenue, a central shopping street.[48] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 4 (+1 attacker) 36
22 March 2016 Belgium Brussels and Zaventem, Belgium 2016 Brussels bombings There were three coordinated suicide bombings in Brussels: two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one at Maalbeek metro station. In these attacks, 32 people and the three bombers were killed, and 340 people were injured.[12][49] Europol classified the attacks as jihadist terrorism.[12] 32 (+3 attackers) 340
13 June 2016 France Magnanville, France 2016 Magnanville stabbing A man stabbed and killed a police officer in his home, before taking the officer's wife and son hostage. Police raided the house and killed the attacker and found the officer's wife dead but his son alive. ISIL claimed responsibility. Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 2 (+1 attacker) 0
28 June 2016 Turkey Istanbul, Turkey 2016 Atatürk Airport attack A terrorist attack, consisting of shootings and suicide bombings, occurred on 28 June 2016 at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. Gunmen armed with automatic weapons and explosive belts staged a simultaneous attack at the international terminal of Terminal 2. Forty-five people were killed,[50] in addition to the three attackers, and more than 230 people were injured.[51] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 45 (+3 attackers) 230
14 July 2016 France Nice, France 2016 Nice attack A cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, resulting in the death of 86 people and injuring 458. The driver was shot dead by police. ISIL claimed the responsibility for the attack.[12][39][52] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 86 (+1 attacker) 458
18 July 2016 Germany Würzburg, Germany Würzburg train attack A 17-year-old Afghan asylum seeker attacked passengers on a train with an axe and a knife. The attacker was killed by police.[12][53] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 0 (1 attacker) 5
24 July 2016 Germany Ansbach, Germany 2016 Ansbach bombing A 27-year-old Syrian refugee detonated a bomb at a wine bar after being denied entry to a nearby music festival, killing himself and wounding 15 civilians. Authorities found a recorded video message on the attacker's phone, pledging his allegiance to ISIL.[12][54] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] The Ansbach bombing was the first suicide bombing in Germany by Islamist terrorists.[55][56] 0 (1 attacker) 15
26 July 2016 France Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, France 2016 Normandy church attack Two assailants took hostages at a church, killing a priest and seriously wounding another man. The attackers were killed by French Special Forces. ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack.[12][57][58] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 1 (+2 attackers) 3
6 August 2016 Belgium Charleroi, Belgium 2016 stabbing of Charleroi police officers Two policewomen were attacked by an attacker wielding a machete and shouting "Allahu Akbar". The assailant was shot and killed by a third officer.[12][59][60] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 0 (1 attacker) 2
17 August 2016 Russia Moscow Oblast, Russia 2016 Shchelkovo Highway police station attack Two men with firearms and axes attacked the police station on the Shchelkovo Highway near Moscow. Two traffic police officers were seriously wounded, one fatally.[61] The attackers, natives of the Chechen Republic, were killed by police during the attack. ISIL claimed responsibility.[62] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 1 (+2 attackers) 1
5 October 2016 Belgium Brussels, Belgium 2016 stabbing of Brussels police officers Three police officers were attacked by a man wielding a machete in the Schaerbeek neighborhood of Brussels. Two of them suffered stab wounds, while the third was physically assaulted but otherwise uninjured.[12][63] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 0 3 (+1 attacker)
19 December 2016 Germany Berlin, Germany 2016 Berlin attack Twelve people died and 56 others were injured after a truck was driven into a Christmas market in Berlin. Days later, having fled to Italy, the attacker shot an Italian police officer doing a routine check, before being killed by police.[12][64] ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack.[65] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[12] 12 56


In 2017, a total of 62 people were killed in ten completed jihadist attacks in the European Union, according to Europol figures. The number of attempted jihadist attacks reached 33 in 2017, double that of the previous year. Most of the deaths were in the UK (35), Spain (16), Sweden (5) and France (3). In addition to those killed, a total of 819 people were injured in 14 attacks. The pattern of jihadist attacks in 2017 led Europol to conclude that terrorists preferred to attack ordinary people rather than causing property damage or loss of capital.[66]

According to Europol's annual report on terrorism in the European Union, the jihadist attacks in 2017 had three patterns:

The agency's report also noted that jihadist attacks had caused more deaths and casualties than any other type of terrorist attack, that such attacks had become more frequent, and that there had been a decrease in the sophistication and preparation of the attacks.[66]

In 2017, a total of 705 individuals were arrested in 18 EU Member states, 373 of those in France. Most arrests were on suspicion of membership in a terrorist organisation (354), suspicion of planning (120), or of preparing (112) a terrorist attack.[66]

Date Location Article Details Deaths Injuries
1 January 2017 Turkey Istanbul, Turkey 2017 Istanbul nightclub shooting A mass shooting occurred at a nightclub in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul, Turkey, on 1 January 2017. The attack occurred at about 01:15 FET (UTC+3) at the Reina nightclub in Ortaköy, where hundreds of people were celebrating the New Year. At least 39 people were killed and at least 70 were injured in the incident. The gunman was arrested in the city on 17 January 2017, and ISIL claimed credit for his actions.[67][needs update] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 39 70
22 March 2017 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom 2017 Westminster attack A 52-year-old Muslim convert drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, injuring 50 people, five of them fatally. He then crashed his car into the fence of the Palace of Westminster and fatally stabbed an unarmed policeman before being shot dead by other officers.[68][69] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 5 (+1 attacker) 50
3 April 2017 Russia Saint Petersburg, Russia 2017 Saint Petersburg Metro bombing A suicide bomber blew himself up on the St Petersburg Metro, on the day Vladimir Putin was due to visit the city. Sixteen people[70] were killed, including the bomber, and 64 others were injured. Imam Shamil Battalion, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, claimed responsibility,[71] but according to the FSB, attacker acted on the orders of a field commander from ISIL.[72] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 15 (+1 attacker) 64
7 April 2017 Sweden Stockholm, Sweden 2017 Stockholm attack A hijacked truck was driven into pedestrians along a shopping street before crashing into a department store. Five people were killed and 14 others wounded. Police said the attacker, an Uzbek immigrant, had shown sympathies for extremist organizations including ISIL.[73] He was sentenced to life in prison and lifetime expulsion from Sweden in June 2018.[74] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 5 14
20 April 2017 France Paris, France April 2017 Champs-Élysées attack Three police officers and a bystander were shot by an attacker wielding an AK-47 rifle on the Champs-Élysées, a shopping boulevard in Paris. The attacker was shot dead during the incident. He had a note defending ISIL, and had previously attempted to communicate with ISIL fighters in Iraq and Syria.[39][75] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 1 (+ 1 attacker) 3
22 May 2017 United Kingdom Manchester, United Kingdom Manchester Arena bombing A suicide bombing was carried out at Manchester Arena after a concert by American singer Ariana Grande, killing 22 civilians.[76] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 22 (+1 attacker) 512[77][78]
3 June 2017 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom 2017 London Bridge attack A van ran into pedestrians on London Bridge and then drove to Borough Market, where the three occupants attacked people with knives before being shot by police. Eight people were killed and 48 were injured.[79] The injured included four unarmed police officers.[80][81] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 8 (+3 attackers) 48
6 June 2017 France Paris, France 2017 Notre Dame attack An Algerian PhD student, who prosecutors allege had pledged allegiance to ISIL in a video, was arrested for using a hammer to attack an officer guarding Notre Dame de Paris. Knives were later found in his rucksack.[82][needs update] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 0 1 (+1 attacker)
19 June 2017 France Paris, France June 2017 Champs-Élysées car ramming attack A car loaded with guns and explosives was rammed into a Gendarmerie vehicle on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, France. The attacker was shot and killed by police. He had pledged his allegiance to ISIL and stated the attack should be treated as a "martyrdom operation."[83] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 0 (+ 1 attacker) 0
20 June 2017 Belgium Brussels, Belgium June 2017 Brussels attack A Moroccan immigrant ran into the Brussels Central Station where he detonated a small bomb which caused no injuries. The perpetrator then ran towards soldiers in another part of the station, and was shot and killed. The attack failed.[84][85] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 0 (+1 attacker) 0
28 July 2017 Germany Hamburg, Germany 2017 Hamburg attack A failed 26-year-old Palestinian asylum seeker[86][66] stabbed seven people with a 20 cm-long kitchen knife: one was killed and the other six were injured. In March 2018, he was sentenced to life in prison. The attacker said that "he would die as a martyr" and that "his aim was to kill as many Germans as possible to avenge Muslim suffering worldwide".[87] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 1 6 (+1 attacker)
9 August 2017 France Levallois-Perret, France Levallois-Perret attack A car rammed into a group of around dozen soldiers taking part in Opération Sentinelle, injuring six.[88] The prosecutor said the suspect had showed interest in ISIL.[89][needs update] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 0 6 (+1 attacker)
16-21 August 2017 SpainBarcelona

and Cambril,

Catalonia, Spain

2017 Barcelona attacks On 16 August 2017 two suspects were killed in an initial accidental explosion during the preparation of explosives that were to be used in the attack in Alcanar. 16 were injured when another bomb accidentally exploded during the excavation of the site.[90] On 17 August 2018, a van was driven into pedestrians in Las Ramblas, Barcelona, killing 14 and injuring at least 130. Two suspects then fled on foot, stabbing another civilian to death in the process. The following day a woman and five attackers were killed in a related attack in Cambrils when a car tried to run into pedestrians and attackers stabbed people. A policeman shot and killed four of the five attackers while the fifth died later of his injuries.[91] On 21 August, the suspected driver of the Ramblas van attack was shot and killed by police in Subirats.[92]

ISIL claimed responsibility for the Ramblas attack.[93] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66]

16 (+8 attackers) 152
18 August 2017 Finland Turku, Finland 2017 Turku stabbing Two civilians were killed and eight others where injured by a man inspired by ISIL. The attacker said during interrogation that he started having an interest in ISIL propaganda three months prior to the attack. Police believed he acted alone and there was no evidence of contact with any terrorist organization. The attacker possessed ISIL photos and videos on his mobile phone and his computer. He said a motive for his attack was airstrikes by the Western Coalition during the 2017 Battle of Raqqa in Syria. According to the NBI, his vision was that he would die in the attack as a martyr.[94][95][96][needs update] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 2 8 (+1 attacker)
25 August 2017 Belgium Brussels, Belgium August 2017 Brussels attack On 25 August 2017 in Brussels on Boulevard Emile Jacqmain, a machete-wielding Somali man was shot dead after attacking two soldiers. One soldier was wounded. Europol classified the incident as jihadist terrorism.[97][98][66] 0 (+1 attacker) 1
15 September 2017 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom Parsons Green bombing A bomb containing TATP partially detonated on a District line train at Parsons Green tube station, with thirty people treated for injuries.[99][100] The main suspect arrested was an 18-year old Iraqi refugee.[101][102][103][needs update] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 0 30
1 October 2017 France Marseille, France Marseille stabbing Two women, 20 and 21-year-old cousins, were attacked by an illegal immigrant[104] from Tunisia using a knife. Patrolling soldiers shot him dead at the scene. French police were cautious as to whether it was a terrorist attack.[105] ISIL later claimed responsibility, a claim which French intelligence services described as "opportunistic". The prosecutor opened an investigation for "murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise".[106] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[66] 2 (+1 attacker) 0


Date Location Article Details Deaths Injuries
23 March 2018 France Carcassone and Trèbes, France Carcassonne and Trèbes attack A 26-year-old who pledged allegiance to ISIL made an attack in the French towns of Carcassonne and Trèbes: he attacked and stole a car, killing a passenger and wounding the driver, in Carcassonne. Later he arrived in Trèbes where a police officer was injured when he was shot by the attacker. Then, he attacked a supermarket, where two civilians were killed and several others were injured. The attacker was later killed by the police.[107] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[108] 4 (+1 attacker) 15
12 May 2018 France Paris, France 2018 Paris knife attack A 21-year-old Franco-Chechen man stabbed one pedestrian to death and injured four others in Paris, France. The attacker was later killed by police.[109] The suspect had been on a counter-terrorism watchlist since 2016. Amaq News Agency posted a video of a hooded figure pledging allegiance to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Amaq claimed this figure was the attacker.[110] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[108] 1 (+1 attacker) 4
29 May 2018 Belgium Liège, Belgium 2018 Liège attack A man on temporary leave from prison stabbed and then shot two police officers, killing them. He then shot dead a civilian. The gunman took a woman hostage and wounded four others before he was killed by police. He is also believed to have killed a man the day before the attack.[111] Europol classified the attack as jihadist terrorism.[108] 4 (+1 attacker) 4
31 August 2018 Netherlands Amsterdam, Netherlands 2018 Amsterdam stabbing attack An Afghan teenager stabbed and injured two Americans in Amsterdam Centraal station. The attacker was then shot by a police officer. Prosecutors said that the attacker had terrorist motives.[112] 0 2 (+1 attacker)
11 December 2018 France Strasbourg, France 2018 Strasbourg attack A gunman killed three people and injured 12 others, six seriously, in Strasbourg, France, during the annual Christmas market. The shooter fled the scene but has been identified by police as a known extremist.[113] 3 13 (+1 attacker)

Terrorist plots

This is a list of plots which have been classified as terrorism by a law enforcement agency and/or for which at least one person has been convicted of planning one or more terrorist crimes.

Article Date[clarification needed (see talk)] Location Details
1998 World Cup terror plot June 1998 France France [citation needed]
Strasbourg Cathedral bombing plot 31 December 2000 France Strasbourg, France [citation needed]
2001 U.S. Embassy Paris attack plot September 2001 France Paris, France [citation needed]
2002 Strait of Gibraltar terror plot June 2002 Gibraltar Gibraltar [citation needed]
Wood Green ricin plot 2002 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom In January 2003, a counter-terrorism operation was launched against an al-Qaeda cell planning to use poison for an attack on U.K. streets. An Algerian male was sentenced to 17 years in prison for the plot along with life imprisonment for stabbing a detective to death during his arrest in Manchester.[114]
2007 plot to behead a British Muslim soldier 2007 United Kingdom Birmingham, United Kingdom [citation needed]
2006 German train bombing attempts 31 July 2006 Germany Germany On 31 July 2006, two Improvised Explosive Devices packed in suitcases were placed aboard regional trains. Had the devices functioned as intended, they could have killed around 70 people. The suspects, two Lebanese nationals studying in Germany, were motivated by Jyllands-Posten's publication of Muhammad cartoons and they were caught on CCTV cameras.[115][116] One of the attackers fled to Lebanon after the attack and the other was sentenced to life in prison by the court in Düsseldorf.[115] Europol classified the plot as Islamist terrorism.[116]
2006 Prague terror plot September 2006 Czech Republic Prague, Czech Republic [citation needed]
2007 bomb plot in Germany 2007 Germany Germany [citation needed]
2007 bomb plot in Copenhagen 2007 Denmark Copenhagen, Denmark [citation needed]
2007 plot to behead a British Muslim soldier 2007 United Kingdom Birmingham, United Kingdom [citation needed]
2008 Barcelona terror plot 2008 Spain Barcelona, Spain [citation needed]
2008 Exeter attempted bombing 22 May 2008 United Kingdom Exeter, United Kingdom [citation needed]
2010 European terror plot 2010 United Kingdom France Germany [citation needed]
2010 Norway terror plot 2010 Norway Norway [citation needed]
2010 Copenhagen terror plot 2010 Denmark Copenhagen, Denmark [citation needed]
2014 Norway terror threat 24–31 July 2014 Norway Norway The Norwegian Police Security Service said on 24 July 2014 that there was an imminent threat of an attack by people linked to Islamists in Syria.[117] Security measures were introduced for a week until the threat was deemed reduced.[118]
October 2014 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom A man of Moroccan origin was arrested in October 2014, North Kensington.[119] On 24 March 2016 he and his childhood friend were convicted at the Old Bailey of conspiracy to murder and preparation of acts of terrorism. The pair had planned to carry out shootings of police, soldiers and civilians. A further two suspects were cleared of terrorism charges but convicted for supplying a gun.[120][119]
17 November 2015 Germany Hannover, Germany A football friendly between Germany and the Netherlands and labelled a "symbol of freedom" in the aftermath of the Paris attacks was cancelled and the spectators evacuated shortly before the match, due to a bomb threat.[121] A German newspaper later claimed that a French intelligence dossier, detailing plans to carry out five bombings, had prompted the Germans to order the evacuation.[122]
2016 NetherlandsLeeuwarden Volkel, Netherlands A man was arrested in 2016 as he was driving around in Eindhoven wearing a balaclava. Maps of Volkel and Leeuwarden air bases were found on his computer.[123] The Gerechtshof Den Haag found that the suspect was under the influence of Islamic State ideology, that he had terrorist motives and that he had prepared attacks on military targets and prime minister Rutte.[124][125]
26 March 2016 United Kingdom Birmingham, United Kingdom A man was arrested on 26 March 2016 by MI5 when a handgun, a pipe bomb and a cleaver inscribed with the word "kafir" (English: unbeliever) was found in his car. His neighbour in the Sparkhill area was arrested as were two others. A sword was found in one of the men's car. Two of them had previously been arrested and jailed in 2013 for going to an al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan.[126] All four were convicted of preparation of an act of terrorism in August 2017.[126]
2016 Düsseldorf terrorism plot 2 June 2016 Germany Düsseldorf, Germany Four migrants were arrested on suspicions of being part of a cell of up to ten ISIL terrorists from Syria who had planned to launch attacks in Düsseldorf similar to the November 2015 Paris attack.[12][127][128][needs update] Europol classified the plot as jihadist terrorism.[12]
13 September 2016 Germany Schleswig-Holstein, Germany In mid September 2016 three Syrian refugees, 17–26 years old were apprehended by special forces in Germany in different locations in Schleswig-Holstein.[129][130] This was one of the two terrorist cells the Islamic State sent to Europe in 2015 to carry out attacks in Europe, the other carried out the November 2015 Paris attacks.[131] In March 2018 a court in Hamburg (German: Hanseatische Oberlandesgericht) were sentenced in a 30-day trial for being members of the Islamic State terror organisation. The eldest of the three was sentenced to six and a half years in prison, the other two received three years and six months respectively.[131]
2016 Balkans terrorism plot 17 November 2016  Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia Macedonia and  Albania 18 people were arrested over ten days across Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania, after a suspected plot to attack the Israeli national football team and Israeli supporters during an Albania-Israel match.[132][133][needs update] Kosovo police said the attack was planned by Islamic terrorists.[133]
2016 Ludwigshafen bombing plot 26 November 2016

5 December 2016

Germany Ludwigshafen, Germany A 12-year-old German-Iraqi boy was directed by a 19-year-old ISIL supporter to build nail bombs.[134][135] One bomb was planted at the local Christmas market on 26 November and another near a shopping centre on 5 December; both failed to detonate. The 19-year-old along with a 15-year-old girl to whom he was married according to Islamic law also planned an attack against USAF Ramstein Air Base. The 19-year-old was declared guilty of membership in a terrorist organisation and directing a terrorist attack and sentenced to 9 years in prison by a court in Vienna.[136][137][138]
November 2016 Denmark Copenhagen, Denmark A Syrian refugee who arrived in Germany in 2015 was subsequently radicalized and participated in terror attack planning using bombs targeting Copenhagen. In November 2016 he was apprehended while attempting to enter Denmark with no return ticket under instruction from an IS-accomplice in Sweden.[139][140] He was found to be an IS-sympathizer and to have planned mass murder as part of political violence (German: "schwerer staatsgefährdender Gewalt").[141][142][143] The accused, now 21 years old, was sentenced by Ravensburger Landgericht in June 2017 to more than six years in prison, a sentence that was shortened due to his age.[144]
December 2016 Netherlands Netherlands A 31-year-old man was sentenced to four years for planning a terrorist attack. The court also found him guilty of possessing and distributing jihadist propaganda.[145]
27 April 2017 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom A man armed with knives was arrested on 27 April 2017 near Parliament Square in London.[146] He was found to have planned a knife attack. He declared himself to investigators to be an Islamic warrior (mujahid) and that he was engaged in jihad.[147] In July 2018, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for preparing terrorist acts in Britain and a minimum of 40 years for previously having made explosives for the Taliban in Afghanistan.[148]
May 2017 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom A group of men who were arrested on 17 May 2017 were convicted in March 2018 of a planning a terrorist attack using children. The ringleader was jailed for life with a minimum 25-year sentence for two counts of preparation of terrorist acts. A further two men also received jail sentences for complicity.[149]
2017 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom Four women were arrested in 2017 for planning attacks, including one on the British Museum. In 2018 they were convicted on terrorist charges, with one of the women becoming the youngest female terrorist linked to the Islamic State.[150] Three of the four were found guilty of involvement in planning attacks,[151][152] while the fourth was found guilty of failing to disclose information about the plots.[153]
26 April 2018 Italy Naples, Italy A car ramming was thwarted by police in Naples after the arrest of a man of Gambian origins. He pledged allegiance to the Islamic State leader.[154]

Response to terrorism

Arrests for suspicion of jihadist-related terrorist offences
in the European Union 2009-2017
  Europol annual number of arrests. TE SAT reports 2014[155]
2016[34] 2017.[12] 2018[66]

According to Europol, the number of people arrested on suspicion of jihadist-related terrorist offences in the European Union increased from 395 in 2014 to 687 in 2015.[34]

In 2015, most arrests were made in France (377), followed by Spain (75) and Belgium (60); statistics for the United Kingdom were not available.[34] During 2015, jihadist terrorism related verdicts were 198 out of a total of 527 terrorism related verdicts.[34] The average sentence for jihadist terrorism increased from 4 years in 2014 to 6 years.[34] In Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden, all terrorism verdicts concerned jihadist terrorism.[34]

In 2016, a total of 718 people were arrested on suspicion of jihadist-related terrorist offences in the European Union.[12] During 2016, 358 verdicts on jihadi terrorism were delivered by courts in the EU, the vast majority of all terrorism verdicts. Belgium had the highest number of such verdicts at 138. All terrorism verdicts in Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal and Sweden related to jihadist terrorism. Of those convicted for jihadist terrorist offences, 22 were women, such offences were punished with an average sentence of 5 years in prison.[12]

After the vehicle-ramming attack, European countries began equipping pedestrian areas with barriers.[18]

In 2017, the total number of arrests was 705.[66] During 2017, 352 verdicts on jihadi terrorism were delivered by courts in the EU, this was the vast majority of all terrorist convictions (569). The average sentence remained at 5 years in prison. The country with the highest number of jihadist convictions was France with 114.[156]

In 2017, according to Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union's Counter-terrorism Coordinator, the United Kingdom had the highest number of known Islamist radicals of any European country at around 20 to 25 thousand. de Kerchove said that three thousand of those were considered a direct threat by MI5 and 500 were under constant surveillance.[157]

A number of European countries—Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom—made legal changes which enable deprivation of citizenship of individuals engaged in terrorism if they have dual citizenship.[158][clarification needed]

Article Date Location
Opération Sentinelle 12 January 2015 - ongoing France France
2015 anti-terrorism operations in Belgium 15 January 2015 Belgium Verviers, Belgium[159]
Operation Ruben 6–7 May 2015 Bosnia and Herzegovina Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina
2015 Saint-Denis raid 17–18 November 2015 France Saint-Denis, France[160]
2016 Brussels police raids 15–18 March 2016 Belgium Brussels, Belgium[161]
2016 Balkans terrorism plot 4–16 November 2016  Kosovo,  Macedonia,  Albania
2017 St. Petersburg raid 13–14 December 2017 Russia Saint Petersburg, Russia[162]

See also


  1. ^ failed, foiled, and completed
  2. ^ not including attackers


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