Messaging applications, online forums and video gaming platforms have gained popularity in terrorist and violent extremist circles, according to Europol’s trend report on terrorism in the European Union. “The internet and technology remained a pivotal enabler of propaganda, as well as radicalisation and recruitment of vulnerable individuals into terrorism and violent extremism.”
The report says that other advanced technologies which have become increasingly visible include the manufacture and use of 3D-printed weapons. This is particularly the case in the right-wing scene. Terrorists’ use of virtual assets, especially cryptocurrencies, for financing is also mentioned.
- Terrorism continues to pose a serious threat. In 2022, 28 completed, failed or foiled attacks were recorded in the EU. 16 attacks were completed, and 4 people lost their lives: 2 from jihadist attacks and 2 from a right-wing terrorist attack.
- EU Member States continue to view jihadist terrorism as the most prominent threat in the EU. Out of the 380 individuals arrested by EU Member States in 2022 for terrorism-related offences, 266 were carried out for jihadist offences.
- Lone actors remain a key threat. Most of the attacks carried out in 2022 were done so by suspects acting alone. This can be observed across the spectrum from jihadist to right- and left-wing extremism.
- Although rooted in different ideologies and backgrounds, terrorists and violent extremists are increasingly sharing common elements, including similar narratives on the same topics, the selection of similar targets for attacks and the borrowing of tactical methods.
- Anti-establishment, conspiracy theories and the opposition to technological advances seem to be increasingly filling the space between ideologies, providing motivations for violent actions.
- The most visible reactions to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine emerged in the first months of the war, largely in the far-right scene, materialising in online posts and a limited number of right-wing extremist affiliates traveling to join the battlefield. Although the interest in the war in this milieu appears to have gradually dimmed throughout the remainder of 2022, disinformation related to the conflict is likely to continue to fuel terrorist and extremist narratives.