Report: Terrorism in the west, An Age of Extremes

A new 300-page report published today by the Henry Jackson Society finds that for the first time in recent years Britain has become the number one location for terrorism in the Western world. Measuring data collected from terrorist incidents in 2017 against earlier datasets from 2016, the report is able to draw out the  key trends as to changing patterns. Breaking new ground, Terrorism in the West: An Age of Extremes outlines for the first time the data from 2017, a year of terrorism that saw troops on the streets of Britain.

Accounting for a fifth of all Western terrorist attacks, Britain saw 693 people injured or killed by terrorism between 2016 and 2017.

Key findings from the report include:

84% of all terrorism fatalities werecaused by Islamists despite the rising threat of far right terrorism.

The number of far right terrorist attacks across the West quadrupled between 2016 and 2017.

54.8% of Islamists who launched Western terrorist attacks were previously known to authorities whereas just 4% of far right attackers were – suggesting a serious intelligence gap on the behalves of the security services.

Far left and far right terrorism together made up 41% of terrorism across the West in 2017 – almost equalling Islamist inspired terrorism which constituted 45.8% of all attacks.

Military personnel are increasingly coming under attack, with 10% of all attacks in the West having a military target – up from 3% in 2016.

Terrorism is up across the West by 25.9%.

The number of terrorist attacks aimed at the UK increased from 5 to 13 of which the number of Islamist attacks increased from 2 to 6.  The number of separatist/nationalist attacks also rose from 2 to 6.

66.7% of Islamist Assailants were either immigrants or visitors (illegally or legally) to the country they attacked.

As the UK in particular knows to its cost, there has been a significant increase in the use of vehicles as weapons, with a tripling in the number of attacks involving vehicles between 2016 and 2017.

View the infographic

Containing detailed profiles on the 68 terrorist attacks to hit the Western World in 2017, the report draws several ground-breaking insights into the changing nature of terrorism.  This includes the new pattern of far right offenders emulating or copying the tactics of high profile Islamist assailants.  Another is that despite the fall in their territorial control, Islamic State is still connected to over 35% of Islamist terrorist attacks.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the fragmenting nature of the threat, Terrorism in the West demonstrates the need for a robust response to the dangers of violent terrorism. The report has been widely welcomed by many of the world's leading terrorism experts – endorsements from whom are below. Read its key findings here.

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