Monthly Threat Update June 2020
There was one terrorist attack in Great Britain this month; a bladed weapons attack against members of the public in a park in Reading. The frequency of attacks across Western Europe is likely to increase as countries begin to ease restrictions imposed in response the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As lockdowns are eased, the opportunities for mass casualty attacks will increase and planned attacks, deferred due to the pandemic, may now materialise.
Elsewhere, US law enforcement disrupted a plot by an American soldier to attack his own unit. According to the indictment, the soldier passed intelligence on the movements of his unit to a Satanic, Neo-Nazi group known as the Order of Nine Angles (O9A). Such plots highlight the enduring threat from ‘insiders’ and the problem of right-wing extremists joining the military to access weapons, training and intelligence which can be used in attack planning.
In Africa, French forces killed the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) during a military operation in northern Mali. Abdelmalek Droukdel was the leader of AQIM and its precursor groups since 2004 and was largely responsible for the group’s expansion from Algeria across the Sahel. Droukdel’s death is unlikely to affect the group’s operations materially, and although it may seek to target Western interests locally in response, attacks in Europe by the group or its agents are unlikely.