James Forsyth James Forsyth

Europe is still struggling to face up to the terror threat

Europe’s unpreparedness to deal with the terrorist threat it is now facing is highlighted in two reports today. The Wall Street Journal has obtained a copy of the report prepared for the Belgium parliament on the failure of the Belgium authorities to stop the Islamic State terror cell who travelled from Belgium to carry out the 2015 Paris attacks. The report details a quite remarkable litany of incompetence, including the failure of the Belgium police to act on a warning that Salah Abdeslam had changed his social media profile picture to a picture of the Islamic State flag.

The failure of Belgium’s various police and intelligence agencies to cooperate with each other is well known. But it is not just Belgium that is struggling to deal with the terrorist threat facing it. Spiegel has detailed how the German authorities had marked out Anis Amri as a threat long before his attack on the Berlin Christmas Market, but were still unable to stop him. Again, the story is one of a lack of coordination between local and national law enforcement agencies—Amri had registered as an asylum seeker under nine different names. Just as worrying is how after the attack Amri was able to travel to several other European countries before eventually being confronted by the police.

If European countries are to minimise the number of future terrorist attacks there is not only going to have to be far more cooperation between local and national law enforcement agencies but also a more robust attitude to the deportation of undesirable, illegal immigrants.

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