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Far right terrorist attacks shoot with deaths of 700 percent in atrocities that were « inspired » by the massacre of neo-Nazi Anders Breivik.
The 2020 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) found that despite a decline in the death toll from terrorism, some extremist factions are deadlier than ever.
In the west, right-wing terrorist attacks rose 250 percent between 2014 and 2019, and the number of deaths rose by 709 percent.
There have been more than 35 far-right terrorist attacks in the West each year for the past five years, the report said.
The horrific rise appears to have been triggered by the 2011 massacre in a Norwegian summer camp by the hateful Breivik, experts say.
The neo-Nazi disguises himself as a policeman and shot and killed 69 in the annual summer camp of the Labor Left Youth wing after killing eight in a bomb attack in Oslo.
« After that there was a sharp increase in right-wing extremist attacks, » said Steve Killelea, founder of the Institute for Business and Peace, which compiles the annual index.
In the past year, 89 of the 108 deaths from terrorism in the West were caused by right-wing extremists.
Horror attacks included the mosque shootings in New Zealand that killed 51 and the massacre at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, in which 23 people were killed.
Other horrific attacks since the Breivik massacre include the 2017 attack on the Quebec mosque, the 2016 attack on the Munich shopping center and the shooting in the Pittsburgh synagogue.
« When you look at terrorism in advanced economies, it is driven by disenfranchisement from society and alienation from the system, » Killelea told the Times.
« Individuals who do this would see deep flaws in society and try to correct what they see as wrong trends. ”
Experts say extreme right-wing terrorism is difficult to prevent as it is often « lone wolf » actors fueled by internet hatred.
Killelea said, “That makes it very difficult for a security operation to get off in advance.
The total number of terrorist deaths in 2019 went up to 13. 826 back – a decrease of 15 percent from the previous year.
The biggest deaths were in Afghanistan and Nigeria. However, they are still the only two countries where more than 1. 000 people died as a result of terrorism.
The report also shows that ISIS is now shifting its focus from attacks in the Middle East and North Africa to Sub-Saharan Africa.
The recent terrorist attacks in France and Austria also suggest that smaller groups that agree with ISIS are still active in Europe and pose an ongoing threat.
Experts have also noted a huge increase in Islamist and far-right propaganda on social media as extremists attempt to exploit a captured audience during the lockdown.
Milo Comerford of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) said zealots were trying to take advantage of the « chaos and uncertainty » created by the global pandemic to spread extremist messages.
In an article published as part of the GTI report, he said a pro-ISIS network on Facebook used « a network of several hundred accounts » to « expand » the spread of propaganda between April and July.
Tactics have been used to prevent content from being removed, including fading, by starting videos of legitimate news material before moving on to extremist material.
Covid-related hashtags have been used on Islamist messages to attract unsuspecting users, and a vaccine Facebook page with thousands of followers has been hijacked by ISIS supporters.
Comerford told PA News Agency: « It should come as no surprise that these bad actors are trying to take advantage of the chaos and uncertainty surrounding Covid to get their extremist messages across.
« It is quite fertile ground for people to spread really divisive, violent, supremacist messages. We have seen this across the ideological spectrum.
« We saw a large amount of extremist content during the lockdown, and that’s in part because there are much more trapped viewers. «
ISD researchers followed the kidnapping of popular coronavirus hashtags in Arabic by extremists and found more than 500 on Twitter. 000 views of ISIS video content related to pandemics.
Last week, UK Counter Terrorism Police Chief Neil Basu raised concerns about the increased risk of teenagers becoming radicalized while spending more time online during the lockdown.
Figures show that the vast majority of under 18s arrested in the UK last year for terrorist offenses – 10 out of 12 – had expressed far-right views.
While Islamist terrorists remain the main threat to Britain, Basu said the far right is growing the fastest.
Comerford said the following far-right channels on the encrypted messaging platform Telegram rose sharply during the pandemic.
A white supremacist channel grew by more than 6 in March. 000 users, while another specifically focused on Covid-19 went from 300 users to 2. 700 rose.
Mr Comerford said, « You certainly have a hardcore of white supremacists, violent activists, on Telegram.
« We saw a tremendous expansion of this during the lockdown. We have seen tremendous user growth in some of the key channels that have been used to spread terrorist content.
« We saw these channels explode during this time with thousands of additional users. We saw large spikes in groups specifically tailored to take advantage of the pandemic.
While social media companies have stepped up their efforts to remove extremist content, he believes that simply removing content will never solve the problem.
A spokesman for Facebook said: « Violent extremist groups and dangerous organizations have no place on our platforms.
« Last quarter we removed 9. 7 million items of content for violating our terrorism policy, 99 percent before it was reported to us.
« However, we recognize that removing content is not enough. That’s why we have a dedicated team of over 350 people who focus on working with law enforcement, counter-terrorism and academic studies on radicalization experts to keep people safe on our platforms. «
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Terrorism, Islamic State of Iraq and Levant
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