CONTENT PREVIEW
Terrorism & Insurgency

Ability of foreign fighters to enter Europe undetected indicates heightened risk of multi-site mass-casualty attacks in 2018

05 February 2018

Key Points

  • Islamist militants intent on engaging in terrorist activity are likely to seek to enter Europe without being detected via late-night boat landings in remote areas, or by taking convoluted routes, and changing their identity on the way.
  • Networks including foreign fighters are likely to attempt sophisticated, multi-site attacks against shopping malls, transport hubs such as main train stations or airports, or major events taking place at large arenas, stadiums, or concert halls. The likelihood of VBIEDs being successfully deployed would also increase.
  • Heightened short-term risk of impromptu low-capability attacks on Italian soil following Interpol’s identification of suspects.

Event

On 31 January, the UK newspaper The Guardian exclusively reported that Interpol had circulated a list of 50 Tunisian suspected Islamic State foreign fighters who had arrived recently in Italy, some of whom may be intending to travel on to other European countries.

Suspected Islamic State fighters are thought to have arrived on small vessels, on a beach near Agrigento in Sicily. The Interpol list of suspects was originally sent to Italy’s interior ministry, after which it was distributed to European national counterterrorism-terrorism (CT) agencies. Patrolling the entirety of Sicily’s southern coast has proved problematic, with late-night migrant arrivals on beaches near Agrigento particularly prevalent and hard to prevent. This is the most likely route taken by the suspected militants travelling via North Africa.

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