European Security and Islamist Terrorism [March 23, 2016]   [open pdf - 127KB]

"On March 22, 2016, coordinated bombings in Brussels, Belgium, left at least 31 people dead at the city's international airport and a metro station in the downtown area, near the headquarters of the European Union (EU). Roughly 250 people were injured, including at least 9 Americans, according to press reports. Belgian officials have declared the bombings acts of terrorism, and the Islamic State organization has claimed responsibility. Two of the assailants, identified as brothers, died during the attacks. The bombings follow the March 18 capture in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam, who is believed to have been directly involved in the November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. Abdeslam may also have helped to plan the Brussels attacks. […]French and EU authorities warn that the ability of the Islamic State to direct and/or carry out operations in Europe appears to be increasing. Reports suggest that the individuals involved in the Paris and Brussels attacks may have relied on larger networks of accomplices and supporters to carry out the attacks and evade security services. The uptick in terrorist activity has reinforced long-standing concerns about the integration of Muslims in Europe and the potential for radicalization among some segments of Europe's Muslim populations. European leaders thus also worry about attacks by self-radicalized extremists who may not have traveled abroad but who have been inspired by Islamist propaganda to commit violence at home, such as the Danish gunman who killed two individuals in Copenhagen in February 2015. Many of the recent attacks have exposed weaknesses in European domestic security, intelligence sharing, and border controls."

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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Listed on March 30, 2016 [Critical Releases]