European Union (EU) Interior Ministers and the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, have raised concerns over the significant risk of terrorist attacks within the EU as the end-of-year holiday season approaches. The recent attack in Paris, which resulted in the tragic death of a German-Filipino tourist, underscores the pressing threat posed by Islamist terrorism.
Imminent Threats and the Role of Geopolitical Context
Germany's Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has emphasized the escalating situation caused by the ongoing war in Gaza and Hamas's acts of terrorism. These factors necessitate close surveillance of Islamist threats and a joint effort to counter Islamist propaganda with neighboring nations.
Didier Leroy, a security expert from the Royal Higher Institute for Defence's Centre for Security and Defence Studies (IRSD), agrees, asserting that the geopolitical context calls for vigilance. He has observed a correlation between Israeli operations in Gaza and the increased risk of political violence in the EU.
Targets of Violent Extremism & The Need for Vigilance
Leroy warns that not just the Jewish community, but various other groups could become targets of violent extremism. The reasons for such attacks could be varied and complex, potentially fueled by far-right ideologies, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism. Jihadist groups may carry out attacks in response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, raising concern for potential retaliation in European capitals.
However, Leroy urges against alarmism, advising the public to stay vigilant, particularly in places with large gatherings during the holiday season. He stresses the importance of not discouraging participation in public events like Christmas markets due to these threats.