This article provides the most thorough overview yet of how jihadis have plotted terrorist attacks in Europe. Drawing on a database of 122 incidents, we review trends in weapon types, attack types and target types in the period 1994–2013. The overall finding is that jihadi terrorism in Europe is becoming more discriminate in its targeting while attack types and weapons are becoming progressively more diverse. The most likely scenarios in the coming three to five years are bomb attacks and armed assaults against sub-national entities, communities and individuals. A majority of the terrorist attacks will be limited in scope, but mass-casualty terrorism cannot be excluded. Foreign fighters from Syria are likely to influence the threat level in Europe, but we do not expect them to alter patterns in modus operandi dramatically.
Key Words: Tactics, targeting, foreign fighters, Europe, jihadist terrorism networks
Perspectives on Terrorism is a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies
ISSN 2334-3745 (Online)