France – French authorities have arrested nine people suspected of plotting attacks in France and belonging to jihadi networks. France has been on high alert since their military operation in Mali. Although France has scaled back its military operations in Mali the threat of terrorist attacks is still an ongoing one. Six were known to French authorities and it is thought that the targets were well known figures. Reprisals from terrorists will continue to be lurking in the background after their removal from Mali.
Germany – On June 25, it was reported that the German police had raided numerous addresses to stop an Islamic terror plot. The terrorists were planning to use model aircraft fitted with explosives and flown into targets. German intelligence had been warned for some time of Islamists returning from training camps in Pakistan to commit acts of terrorism. This type of attack using model aircraft is not easy to detect as they can be obtained openly and legally. Like the attack on Lee Rigby, it will be easy for lone wolf terrorists to carry out attacks with little planning and without the need to acquire instructions from elsewhere.
Greece – The extreme right wing group Golden Dawn is mobilizing people due to an announcement that a Mosque is to be built in Athens. The Greeks believe that migrants are responsible for the economic woes of the country. There are approximately half a million Muslims who live in Greece who in the past had requested that a Mosque be built. The planning for it was granted until recently when the Greek government released $1.25 million for the first state-sponsored mosque to be built. With Greece’s financial difficulties, even a small amount of funds being used for this purpose will be seen by some as bowing to a minority group when so many Greeks do not have jobs and are receiving fewer benefits from the government. In the past, large demonstrations have been held and several terrorist attacks against banks have occurred. This announcement from the government will do nothing to assist the country and far right wing groups will no doubt attempt to stop the building being constructed. On the other side, the Muslims who wish to worship may retaliate.
On June 26, the New York Times published an article regarding a previously unknown group called the “Group of Popular Rebels.” The small feature said that the group had claimed responsibility for an attack on January 13 on the conservative party’s office where a bullet had been fired through a window causing no injuries. The new organization made two more comments the first being that they had delayed the claim for the attack whilst they improved their relations with other urban groups. The other was that, “We promise the struggling people of Greece that next time we will be more sufficient.” Greece has had numerous terrorist and anarchist groups in the past. This maybe a one-off or it may have further plans to step up attacks on those that are seen to be involved with the implication of austerity measure in order to assist the country. Also bare in mind that they may get involved with the building of the Mosque and support the actions of Golden Dawn.
Spain – Spanish authorities have arrested eight people who they suspect of recruiting fighters for an arm of al-Qaeda in Syria. The arrests were made on June 21 in Ceuta, an enclave across the Mediterranean Sea on the tip of Africa next to Morocco. In an al-Jazeera statement it said, "This network, based in Ceuta and [Moroccan city of] Fnideq, carried out fundraising, indoctrination, and organizing and financing travel, in contact with other terrorists and following the guidelines of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization." In the 361 Security Terrorist and Security Report dated January 31, it was reported that the Moroccan officials had broken up a terrorist cell operating in the same location. It appears that the tiny enclave of Ceuta is a central location for terrorist cells to recruit and train terrorists for Syria and Africa. It has been reported a couple of times that terrorists have been arrested on mainland Spain possibly traveling through the country in order to get to France to set up a terrorist network and to be used as a hub to carryout other terrorist attacks in Europe.
United Kingdom – A report from British media outlets claim that a new extremist group has been set up. Islamic Emergency Defense (IED) has evolved in reaction to various mosques and Muslims being targeted in the wake of reprisal attacks against Muslims after the death of the off-duty soldier, Lee Rigby. This is a re-brand of other extremist groups banned by the British government, the latest name being Muslims Against Crusades (MAC).
The trial for the two men who are accused of murdering Rigby is to be held on November 18. Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale will appear in court. This event will bring a lot of media attention and extremist groups, such as the English Defense League and Muslim extremists, will no doubt be in attendance. Violent clashes between the two can be expected.
On June 23, it was reported that a home-made explosive device was found outside a Mosque in Walsall, West Midlands. The device was detonated and no-one was injured in the blast. At the time it was thought that the English Defense League may have been responsible due to a number of other Mosques being targeted recently after the death of soldier Lee Rigby. On June 28, a 75 year-old man was arrested in connection with the attack. At the time of writing, it is unsure if this was a one-time, hate-related incident by a lone individual, or if the man has associations with a hate-related group.
Paul Ashley is the Senior Counter-Terrorist Analyst