New Europol threat assessment for IS and Al Qaeda

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The third edition of Europol’s annual report on Online Jihadist Propaganda has been published focusing on IS and Al Qaeda.

It provides a comprehensive analysis of the major trends and developments in online propaganda of the most prominent jihadist organisations for the year 2020.

Focusing on the Islamic State and al-Qaeda as well as their offshoots, the report addresses the trajectories of these groups, and how they have responded to shifting dynamics and attempted to overcome setbacks.

Prepared by the European Counter Terrorism Centre’s European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU), this threat assessment is based on primary sources, including the groups’ publications, videos and audio speeches, which have been collected by the EU IRU in 2020.

The report shows that the year 2020 was a critical moment in the evolution of the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. Both these jihadist terrorist groups faced major blows, and had to adapt to shifting realities to survive and stay relevant. The risk of online jihadist propaganda being translated into offline violence remains high, as propaganda from both groups continues to call for lone actor attacks by individuals who have no physical connections to either group.

Among its key findings are that under new leadership, IS displays increasing insurgent activity in its traditional heartlands and continuous global reach.

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Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.