The following article was published today in the Combatting Terrorism Center (at West Point) Sentinel.
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Germany
Volume 9, Issue 6 (June 2016)
This analysis of 47 cases of jihadist-inspired violence carried out in Western countries between January 1, 2012, and the June 12, 2016, Orlando attack sheds light on the evolving terrorist threat.
The data shows that the Syrian civil war and the rise of the Islamic State have coincided with an increase in the number of attacks, with more than half of all violent incidents taking place in France and the United States. Notwithstanding the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels, most attacks were carried out by individuals with no direct ties to overseas terrorist groups and were low-tech and relatively ineffectual. Half of all attackers had a criminal past, and perhaps as many were unemployed. A majority of attacks targeted civilians, although violence was also frequently directed against members of law enforcement or the military. Knife attacks were the most common while shootings were the deadliest.
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