Jihadist lone wolves remain a risk factor in Europe
The threat of terrorist violence remains present in Europe. The recent terrorist attacks in Belgium and France are illustrative of this. The attacks were perpetrated by lone wolves. The death of French Algerian Mohammed Mera on 22 March meant an end to a series of assassinations against Jewish and French citizens. On 9 June, a jihadist who had travelled over from France stabbed two police officers in Belgium. Both perpetrators committed their deed out of anger or frustration about what were in their opinion hostilities against Islam, such as the burqa ban. These recent developments show that jihadist radicalisation of lone wolves still constitutes a security risk that has to be taken seriously.
The threat level for the Netherlands remains nevertheless 'limited'. This means that the chance of a terrorist attack is limited at this time, but - inter alia in view of the risk of violent lone wolves - it cannot be excluded. This is included in the Terrorist Threat Assessment Netherlands (DTN 29), which Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice today sent to the Lower House. The threat remains mainly jihadist in nature. There are no indications that jihadists in the Netherlands or abroad are preparing for attacks against the Netherlands.
Jihadists in the Netherlands focus more on participation in the fight in areas of conflict than on conducting a violent battle in the Netherlands. It remains a cause for concern that the number if jihadists that travel to a jihadist area of conflict has grown in recent years, that some of them are successful in reaching their objective and that some are able to take up important positions there. It also cannot be excluded that individual persons radicalise further in the Netherlands and that they will commit violence in the Netherlands. A relatively new aspect is that the borders between jihadist and radical Islamic and islamist groups are sometimes porous as a result of mutual contact. There are no indications of a terrorist threat from ideological corners other than jihadism against the Netherlands, but vigilance remains called for. All things considered, the threat from within (endogenous threat) is becoming more diffuse.
Jihadist networks and groups in traditional areas of conflict, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, determine the threat against the West and the Netherlands to a significant extent. The emphasis of their violent struggle largely lies with the local or regional struggle against Western targets or government agencies and officials. If an opportunity presents itself, jihadists will certainly consider or perform attacks in the West. This was evident once again from media coverage at the start of May concerning a foiled suicide attack that was intended to be carried out with an underwear bomb aboard a passenger flight to the US.
Radical and extremist movements again made themselves heard in the months of January to March 2012, which did not involve major incidents. There were hardly any activities of left-wing and animal rights extremists. There are no concrete indications in the Netherlands that known right-wing extremists are radicalising further towards terrorism. Vigilance remains called for as regards right-wing extremists due to their fascination with and, in some cases, ownership of weapons. Generally speaking, the risk remains that the combination of right-wing extremism ideology and possession of weapons may lead to ideological violence.