Terrorism : Support for Jihad in Iraq Main Threat, Says Europol

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The main terrorist activity in the EU involves support for Islamic terrorists in Iraq, a report from EU police office Europol says. Islamic terrorists come from increasingly diverse backgrounds and nationalities, including European converts to Islam. The threat from Basque and Irish republican terrorists has receded substantially. Anarchist terrorism is still present in Greece, Italy and Spain, according to the report, which covers the October 2004-October 2005 period.

ISLAMIC TERRORISM

'The threat from Al-Qaeda...appears to be the main concern for the security of the European Union', the report says. With some member states, notably the United Kingdom and Italy, the threat is direct. Others are more likely to see attacks on foreign targets on their territory, for example US or Jewish interests.aThe most serious terrorist attack in Europe in 2005 took place in the UK in July when suicide bombers in London detonated explosives in underground trains and on a bus, killing 56 people. Three were UK citizens of Pakistani descent, the fourth a UK citizen of Jamaican origin.

The report says Belgium 'remains an important focal point for Islamic extremists'. Indeed, a Belgian woman in November 2005 became the first home-grown' European suicide bomber in Iraq. Denmark is mentioned too as a centre for recruitment, financial support and procurement of fake or stolen identity documents. Europol says a small number of the 5,000 Danish converts to Islam are radicals. It warns that these people may slip through the net with their European looks and passports'. Sweden has seen the emergence of 'born-again second-generation Muslim immigrants and a number of Swedish converts to radical Islam'.

In France, several individuals of Moroccan origin travelled to Iraq in summer 2004 to join Islamic groups there, having used a network operating from Birmingham in the UK. A terrorist attack in Italy is 'a very realistic scenario' as there are numerous radical cells in the country linked to foreign terrorist organisations. They use Islamic cultural associations and mosques to win converts and get funding, the report says. …