UK faced highest number of terror attacks and plot in Europe last year; says Europol


LONDON: The UK reported the highest number of far-right terror attacks and plots in Europe in 2019, an official report has found. Europol’s annual Terrorism Situation and Trend report, published on Tuesday, said one attack – in Stanwell – was carried out and three were foiled in the year.

No other EU country recorded more than two planned or attempted far-right terror attacks. The Stanwell incident took place a day after the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand, when 50 worshippers were massacred by a “white genocide” conspiracy theorist.

According to an Independent report, Vincent Fuller went on a rampage in his Surrey hometown, attacking cars with non-white drivers before stabbing a Bulgarian teenager. The 50-year-old was targeting Muslims during the rampage, shouting: “All Muslims should die, white supremacists rule. I’m going to murder a Muslim.”

Europol’s report said the attack was “part of a wave of violent incidents worldwide”, including the shootings in Christchurch, Poway and El Paso.“The perpetrators were part of similar transnational online communities and took inspiration from one another,” it added.

UK counter-terror police say that of the 25 attack plots foiled since March 2017, 16 were Islamist, eight far-right and one “other”. The number of white terror suspects being arrested outstripped those of Asian appearance for the second year in a row in 2019.

As of 31 March, there were 238 people jailed for terror-related offences in the UK, of which 77 per cent were Islamists and 18 per cent far-right extremists. Europol said that despite intensified online crackdowns, right-wing extremists “enjoy much greater freedom to act on major social media platforms” than jihadists and continue to spread their ideology.