ISIS planning ‘special forces-style’ attacks in Europe

January 26, 2016

This report from EUROPOL supports our long-standing prediction of a shift in terrorist MO from large-scale, iconic site attacks, to smaller “Mumbai-style” attacks against soft targets in the West. This shift in TTPs will pose a significant challenge for intelligence and law enforcement organizations attempting to detect these types of attacks ahead of time.

ISIS planning ‘special forces-style’ attacks in Europe, report says
by Emily Smith

(CNN) Europe should be prepared for more of the ruthless and coordinated attacks that ISIS carried out in Paris last year, officials say. The militant group is planning more large-scale, “special forces-style” assaults that don’t even necessarily need to be coordinated from Syria.

That disturbing scenario was laid out in a report by Europol – Europe’s law enforcement agency — released Monday.

The report, entitled “Changes in modus operandi of Islamic State terrorist attacks,” paints a picture of a terror group whose methods keep evolving and whose threat is two fold: Coordinated attacks and lone wolf operatives.

“The Paris attacks, and subsequent investigation, appear to indicate a shift towards a broader strategy of [ISIS] going global, of them specifically attacking France, but also the possibly of attacks against other Member States of the EU in the near future,” the report said.

The report details some of the ways ISIS is adapting. Here are some of the key findings:

Soft targets are the most vulnerable

Attacks will be primarily directed at soft targets because of the impact and mass casualties they generate, the report says.

Intelligence also suggests that ISIS has developed a command structure to plan and coordinate “special forces style” operations abroad. This could mean that more Paris-style attacks are currently being planned and prepared, the report says.

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