Far-right political terrorism on rise in western Europe; reports GTI

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LONDON: A report on terrorism by the 2018 Global Terrorism Index has cautioned far-right political terrorism is on the rise in western Europe and north America. Right-wing groups and individuals killed 66 people between 2013 and 2017, with 17 deaths and 47 of those attacks occurring last year, “There has been a real and significant increase in far-right terrorist activity, particularly in the last two years,” Tom Morgan, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Economics and Peace, which produced the report, told The Independent.

The UK suffered 12 far-right terror attacks last year, including the attack outside Finsbury Park mosque, where 47-year-old Darren Osborne drove a van into Muslim worshippers, killing one person and injured at least nine others. Sweden saw six attacks and Greece and France had two each.

The majority of those attacks were carried out by “lone actors with far-right, white nationalist or anti-Muslim beliefs”, the report concluded.   “The kind of social conditions which help produce this kind of activity don’t seem like they’re going away anytime soon,” Mr Morgan said, citing a volatile political climate and economic instability as examples of conditions which could lead to far-right activity.

“The general political climate across western Europe and north America is particularly volatile,” he added, giving the example of the violent “gilets jaunes” protests in Paris. “The kind of environment that can lead to terrorist activity is volatile and prevalent.”

It comes after statistics revealed the number of far-right terrorists imprisoned in Britain has more than tripled in a year, rising from nine to 29 in custody by the end of March.

However, the yearly report found global deaths from terrorism had decreased by 27 per cent, with the largest falls occurring in Iraq and Syria as Isis continues to lose territory, manpower and resources.

The decline of the group contributed to a 56 per cent reduction in deaths in Iraq between 2016 and 2017, though it remains the world’s deadliest terror group.“The increase in counterterrorist activity and spending, as well as security measures like having more bollards and increased military and police presence has had an impact, particularly on terrorist groups’ ability to plan more complicated attacks,” Mr Morgan said.