Belgium – Belgian police arrested 16 people on the 8 Jun 15 in twin terrorism-related investigations involving Chechen extremists, authorities said. The suspects belong to two separate groups that had links between them, the federal prosecutor's office said. Members of one group, based in western Flanders, were allegedly active in Syria and probably participated in combat there, prosecutors said. One group member returned home to Belgium for medical care after being injured while fighting with an extremist Muslim faction, authorities said. Some of those arrested allegedly had plans to return to Syria. The other group, in the Leuven region, had been under investigation since Jan 15 for possible involvement in preparing an attack, the prosecutor's office said. Authorities also performed simultaneous searches in the Belgian cities of Ostende, Bredene, Antwerp, Jabekke, Leuven and Namur. Belgium has been among the European countries most seriously affected by the departure of young people to fight with IS and other extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. There are fears that the combatants will inspire attacks in their home countries, or engage in attacks themselves when they come home. On Jan 15, 15, Belgian counterterrorism units foiled what was described as a jihadi plot to mount a major attack, killing two gunmen and wounding a third in the eastern city of Verviers near the German border.
Denmark – Officers were assaulted on the 9 Jun 15 at night by young men throwing rocks and a firebomb, Funen Police reported. A police car patrolling through the troubled Odense suburb of Vollsmose was attacked when four young men began throwing rocks at the vehicle. A Molotov cocktail followed soon after, which forced the patrol car to withdraw to safety. The police responded by sending additional police out to the area, who rallied at a nearby station. While they were gathered there, a car arrived with some familiar youths from [the area], who began to exhibit an entirely inappropriate behaviour towards the officers. The police managed to intercept the vehicle and apprehend the four men. The Vollsmose suburb is known in Denmark for its high crime and unemployment rates, as well as a large proportion of people of foreign descent living in the area. Its local youths are often involved in altercations with the police. 361 COMMENT: Over recent months there have been a number of reports through open source material regarding small attacks on the police and civilians through what appears supporters of Islamic fundamentalism/extremists. Although currently not on a large scale, nonetheless attacks are occurring. With the number of immigrants entering the European Union and large numbers requesting settlement in places such as Denmark, Sweden and Germany there is the possibility of a greater number of what would be seen as anti-police attacks. It remains to be seen what the authorities will do in order to stop these events occurring, but it is worth noting to see if the trend rises or falls. Also with the influx of militants and possible terrorists right-wing groups will start to become stronger as more turn to their right wing views. COMMENT ENDS
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Italy/Islamic State – On the 30 May 15 Islamic State (ISIS) online activists distributed on Twitter a document urging ISIS lone wolf operatives in Italy to target Italian military personnel, while supplying ten profiles complete with pictures, addresses and phone numbers of the prospective targets. The document is signed by a support group calling itself the "Islamic State Hacking Division" (ISHD) which has no apparent official link to ISIS. The same group was behind the Mar 15 publication of a hit-list covering 100 US military personnel. In its message, the group made claims still unconfirmed that it had penetrated and gained access to secure servers. The information distributed in both the Italian and US cases was apparently retrieved online using open source intelligence gathering methods to trawl through social media and publicly available records. The practice of publishing online personal data about an individual or doxxing in internet jargon is standard fare for hacktivists and cyber-vigilantes.
Spain/Islamic State – The Islamists are especially interested in converts who have not yet taken on Muslim names and whose official IDs still have their Christian names, so they can purchase weapons without drawing the attention of police it was reported on the 6 Jun 15. At least 50,000 Muslim converts are currently living in Spain. Police say that converts are especially susceptible to radicalization because they are facing increasing pressure from Islamists who are calling on them to carry out attacks to "demonstrate their commitment" to their new faith. Spain has also become a key entry point for human trafficking mafias being used by jihadist veterans seeking to return to Europe after fighting in the Middle East. "Turkey is the Seven-Eleven of false passports." — Spanish agent working on a human trafficking case. Spanish security forces have arrested a total of 568 jihadists over the past ten years in 124 separate operations against Islamic terrorism, Spanish Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz revealed at an African security conference in Niger on the 14 May. Fernández Díaz said that "constant police and judicial actions" have helped Spanish authorities prevent another large-scale terrorist attack similar to the March 2004 Madrid train bombings, in which nearly 200 people were killed and more than 2,000 were injured. At the same time, Fernández Díaz has warned that it is "very probable" that Islamic terrorists will strike Spain at some point in the future; he has estimated the probability of an attack to be 70%.
United Kingdom/Northern Ireland – Irish Republican Army (IRA) renegades have honed their engineering skills to create homemade anti-tank type weapons that can penetrate armour, reports claimed on the 8 Jun 15. Gardai (Republic of Ireland Policemen) have uncovered evidence confirming that dissident republicans have made significant progress in developing their terror technology. Recent attacks by the dissident groups in Northern Ireland heightened fears among senior anti-terrorist police officers on both sides of the border that their technology advances were likely to signal a new spate of attacks on Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) vehicles and stations. But the scale of their technological advances was not fully known until Garda finds in dissident hides were forensically examined. A senior officer said: "This is a very worrying development and there are serious concerns on both sides of the border. "The seizures have undoubtedly delivered a major setback to their deadly plans and the operation must be regarded as one of the most important strikes against the dissidents for several years. "But it also demonstrates that, despite seizures and arrests in the past, they are continuing to develop their bombing capacity and manufacture home-made weapons," he added. The evidence shows that the "engineering" section of one breakaway group, known as ONH which stands for Oglaigh na hEireann, has been focusing on a new rocket-propelled anti-tank weapon, which can cause more death and destruction than their previous campaign of mortar attacks. Since 2013, there has been evidence that the various groups have been improving the capacity of their mortars, but the vast majority of their attacks have either been foiled or unsuccessful. It is estimated by security officials in Northern Ireland that for every attack carried out by dissidents, four others were thwarted. Many of the home-made missiles were manufactured in the border region, south and north, but Gardai have also uncovered bomb factories deeper into the Republic of Ireland, where the terror technicians were concentrating on boosting their electronic capabilities. Recent evidence indicates that they have been working on improving remote detonation of improvised explosive devices.