Huge risk of terror attacks in Europe over Christmas, warns top official

A top European official has warned that there is a ‘huge risk of terrorist attacks’ in the EU over the Christmas period.

European Home Affairs Commission Ylva Johansson warned that the increased risk of terror attacks is likely to come from the polarisation of society caused by the Israel-Hamas war.

Her comments come days after a tourist was stabbed to death in Paris. She said: “We saw it recently in Paris, unfortunately, we have seen it earlier as well.”

She did not specify whether there was any specific information which had led to the warning.

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A German official, Nancy Faeser, has also warned that the European Union needs to closely watch out for threats and propaganda to prevent the emotionalisation and radicalisation of violent Islamist individuals.

This comes as several European countries have experienced a rise in hate crimes following attacks by Hamas gunmen on Israeli communities.

The recent meeting of EU ministers discussed these concerns after a deadly stabbing near the Eiffel Tower, where a German tourist was killed and others injured.

The attacker, a 26-year-old French man with a history of planning a terror plot, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.

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In 2020 he was questioned by the French police because he had been in contact with Abdoullakh Anzorov, the person who killed teacher Samuel Paty.

The French anti-terror prosecutor, Jean-François Ricard, mentioned that Armand R’s mother had expressed concerns about his behaviour, but at that time, there wasn’t enough evidence to take further action against him.

Germany is also on high alert for potential attacks. Recently, two boys were detained in different parts of the country on suspicion of planning a militant Islamist attack on a Christmas market in Leverkusen. Additionally, a 20-year-old Iraqi who arrived in Germany last year is in custody on suspicion of planning a knife attack on a Christmas market in Hannover.

Stephan Kramer, the head of German domestic intelligence in the state of Thuringia, has warned about the significant risk posed by individuals sympathetic to Hamas. This danger extends not only to Christmas markets but also to major events like the Paris Olympics and the Euro 2024 football championships next year.

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