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Swiss photographer not responsible for Hong Kong protest assault: lawyers

Swiss photographer not responsible for Hong Kong protest assault: lawyers Swiss photographer not responsible for Hong Kong protest assault: lawyers
A Swiss photographer who closed a door on a Chinese mainlander moments before he was assaulted during last year's Hong Kong democracy protests...
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Turkey debates dropping landmark women's treaty

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Just as Turkey began debating leaving the world's first treaty prosecuting femicide and domestic abuse, a jealous killer set a woman's body...
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Doors slamming shut in Hungary for asylum seekers

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"It's difficult in a new way for us. There is hardly anyone left to talk to," Karzan Mohamed Sharif Amin, an Iraqi Kurd, told AFP at a government-run...
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Mutating terror threat still looms over Europe

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The terrorist threat against Europe has mutated in the last half-decade as jihadist groups have seen their Middle East sanctuaries eroded,...
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US, Slovenia to 'exclude untrusted vendors' from 5G

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The US and Slovenia signed a declaration Thursday to "exclude untrusted vendors" from 5G networks as the Trump administration continues its...
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Beleaguered Belarus opposition finds Baltic refuge

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Waves of repression in Belarus have turned its EU neighbours into places of refuge for pro-democracy Belarusians, with presidential challenger...
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EU, UK denounce Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai's arrest

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The European Union on Monday (Aug 10) accused China of using Hong Kong's new security law to crack down on media freedom, after the arrest...
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Biden rules out in-person appearance at Democratic convention

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Joe Biden will not attend the Democratic convention to accept the party's nomination to be its presidential election candidate after the event...
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EU sanctions on Russian, Chinese 'cyber attackers'

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The European Union imposed its first ever sanctions against alleged cyber attackers on Thursday, targeting Russian and Chinese individuals...
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'Alarm' at Poland's plan to leave treaty protecting women

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The EU and the Council of Europe on Sunday voiced regret and alarm over the Polish right-wing government's move to withdraw from a landmark...
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Latest News

Swiss photographer not responsible for Hong Kong protest assault: lawyers

Swiss photographer not responsible for Hong Kong protest assault: lawyers Swiss photographer not responsible for Hong Kong protest assault: lawyers
A Swiss photographer who closed a door on a Chinese mainlander moments before he was assaulted during last year's Hong Kong democracy protests...
Read More...

Turkey debates dropping landmark women's treaty

Turkey debates dropping landmark women's treaty Turkey debates dropping landmark women's treaty
Just as Turkey began debating leaving the world's first treaty prosecuting femicide and domestic abuse, a jealous killer set a woman's body...
Read More...

Doors slamming shut in Hungary for asylum seekers

Doors slamming shut in Hungary for asylum seekers Doors slamming shut in Hungary for asylum seekers
"It's difficult in a new way for us. There is hardly anyone left to talk to," Karzan Mohamed Sharif Amin, an Iraqi Kurd, told AFP at a government-run...
Read More...

Mutating terror threat still looms over Europe

Mutating terror threat still looms over Europe Mutating terror threat still looms over Europe
The terrorist threat against Europe has mutated in the last half-decade as jihadist groups have seen their Middle East sanctuaries eroded,...
Read More...

US, Slovenia to 'exclude untrusted vendors' from 5G

US, Slovenia to 'exclude untrusted vendors' from 5G US, Slovenia to 'exclude untrusted vendors' from 5G
The US and Slovenia signed a declaration Thursday to "exclude untrusted vendors" from 5G networks as the Trump administration continues its...
Read More...

Beleaguered Belarus opposition finds Baltic refuge

Beleaguered Belarus opposition finds Baltic refuge Beleaguered Belarus opposition finds Baltic refuge
Waves of repression in Belarus have turned its EU neighbours into places of refuge for pro-democracy Belarusians, with presidential challenger...
Read More...

EU, UK denounce Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai's arrest

EU, UK denounce Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai's arrest EU, UK denounce Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai's arrest
The European Union on Monday (Aug 10) accused China of using Hong Kong's new security law to crack down on media freedom, after the arrest...
Read More...

Biden rules out in-person appearance at Democratic convention

Biden rules out in-person appearance at Democratic convention Biden rules out in-person appearance at Democratic convention
Joe Biden will not attend the Democratic convention to accept the party's nomination to be its presidential election candidate after the event...
Read More...

EU sanctions on Russian, Chinese 'cyber attackers'

EU sanctions on Russian, Chinese 'cyber attackers' EU sanctions on Russian, Chinese 'cyber attackers'
The European Union imposed its first ever sanctions against alleged cyber attackers on Thursday, targeting Russian and Chinese individuals...
Read More...

'Alarm' at Poland's plan to leave treaty protecting women

'Alarm' at Poland's plan to leave treaty protecting women 'Alarm' at Poland's plan to leave treaty protecting women
The EU and the Council of Europe on Sunday voiced regret and alarm over the Polish right-wing government's move to withdraw from a landmark...
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The terrorist threat against Europe has mutated in the last half-decade as jihadist groups have seen their Middle East sanctuaries eroded, but analysts say the West must remain

braced for more attacks. 

Both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group -- together responsible for the highest-profile and most horrific terror attacks of the past two decades -- have lost potency as global organisations.

Despite splintering into branches and franchises, their murderous ideology is still able to inspire individuals to carry out random attacks in their name.

Next week in Paris, 14 people face trial over the massacres in January 2015 at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a policewoman and hostages in a Jewish supermarket -- violence claimed for both IS and Al-Qaeda.

The murderous shooting spree heralded an unprecedented wave of attacks in France.

The deadliest were the coordinated attacks in Paris on November 13 that year at the Bataclan music venue and other venues, when gunmen killed 130 in a plan stemming from the IS group's core leadership in Syria.

Experts believe the same style of assault would be unlikely to recur now, not least because IS has seen a dramatic loss of its territory and membership in Iraq and Syria. 

More typical this year were "isolated individuals who were not spotted by the intelligence services... and their limited or even non-existent contacts with identified jihadist networks," a source in the French anti-terror prosecutors' office told AFP.

Since 2015, France has seen 17 crimes classified as acts of terror.

Three took place in 2020, none of which were claimed by the terror groups but were instead perpetrated by isolated individuals suffering from psychological problems.

But anti-terror prosecutors still see signs of operational coordination, including "networks of false documents and funding," the source said.

- 'Attack possible' -

Seth Jones, director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, said that in recent years, US and other military operations had "decimated" the IS external operations network, killing or capturing many of its key operational leaders.

Its military rout and the loss of territory IS had declared as a caliphate in Iraq and Syria have also diminished its status, and the motivation for individuals to carry out attacks in its name.

It remains possible that Al-Qaeda could carry out a major attack in Europe, Jones said, either directly or through individuals inspired by its ideology, though this was "not a high probability".

The Covid-19 pandemic may have taken some focus off terrorism for security forces worldwide.

But it has also complicated the task of the jihadists, who have been active on a local level but very cautious about ranging further afield.

"In general, the short-term terrorist threat has risen in conflict zones and fallen in non-conflict zones," a UN report said in mid-July.

- 'Easier in Africa' -

Plots continue to emerge, however. 

German authorities said in April they had foiled a plot to target American military installations, and arrested five Tajiks suspected of acting in the name of IS.

Another source of risk comes from individuals released from jail in Europe or freed or escaped from Kurdish-controlled prisons in northern Syria where they have been held since IS was defeated.

Jean-Charles Brisard, head of the France-based Center for the Analysis of Terrorism (CAT), told AFP he did not rule out a new targeted action by IS, pointing to recent attacks foiled in Europe.

"The next cycle will be that of those who are leaving jail," he said.

The CAT has established that 60 percent of prisoners in France convicted over their actions in past conflicts in Bosnia, Iraq or Afghanistan reoffended violently after their release.

A French security source, who asked not to be named, said West Africa is a particular concern after France's forces deployed in the region in June killed the head of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdelmalek Droukdel.

Eight people, including six young French aid workers, were killed in a suspected jihadist raid on August 9 in Niger but no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

"I find it more likely that AQIM will conduct a revenge attack against French forces or other French targets in Africa -- including North and West Africa -- than in France itself," said Jones. "It is easier for the group to operate in Africa." AFP

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