European Security, Islamist Terrorism, and Returning Fighters [March 16, 2015]   [open pdf - 59KB]

"European concerns about Islamist terrorism have been heightened considerably by recent attacks in France and Denmark. In early January 2015, gunmen killed 17 people over several days in three related incidents that targeted the Paris headquarters of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police officers, and a kosher supermarket. The perpetrators of the attacks were French-born Muslims, with possible ties to Al Qaeda in Yemen or the Islamic State terrorist organization. In mid-February 2015, a Danish-born citizen of Palestinian descent murdered two individuals--one at a Copenhagen cafe that had been hosting a free speech debate, another at a synagogue--and wounded five police officers. These incidents--along with the May 2014 killing of four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium, reportedly by a French Muslim who had spent a year with Islamist fighters in Syria--have reinforced growing unease throughout Europe about the possible threats posed by European Muslims fighting with extremist groups, especially in Syria and Iraq. Security services warn about the potential danger such trained militants might pose if and when they return to Europe, and worry about those, like the suspected Danish gunman, who may be inspired by Islamist extremist propaganda to commit 'lone wolf' attacks at home without ever traveling abroad."

Report Number:
CRS Insight, IN10209
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
Media Type:
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