Europol Review 2014


Foreign fighters: a threat of rising proportion

Foreign fighters: a threat of rising proportion img

Foreign fighters: a threat of rising proportion


Young Europeans, having returned from Syria and other conflict areas where they had joined rebel groups, are of serious concern for the EU. A number of them have radicalised and have gained hands-on experience in acts of extreme violence.

This particular group of foreign fighters may be capable of conducting terrorist attacks in the EU, fired up by ‘mujatweets’, videos and other social outreach by the groups they had joined and sympathise with. Europol’s ‘Check the Web’ portal enables EU Member States to share information on the Internet activities of religiously inspired terrorist groups. ‘Islamic State’, known for its highly developed and effective media strategy, motivates jihadists to fight for its cause in conflict areas or at home in Europe.

In cases of major terrorist incidents or threats, Europol can set-up a First Response Network. Within this network, counter-terrorism experts from the Member States are supported by experts from Europol and on-the-spot access to the Europol counter terrorism tools and services.

Europol intelligence support to ongoing investigations img

Europol intelligence support to ongoing investigations


The fight against terrorism, along with the fight against serious and organised crime, is Europol’s core business. During the European Police Chiefs Convention 2014, a clear political statement was made: the fight against terrorism is a major priority for European law enforcement.

Europol fully supports the work of the national units by providing intelligence and, in case of a major incident, by assisting investigators 24/7.

On 7 January 2015, the French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ was attacked by two jihadists. During the attack in Paris, 12 people were killed. In a video released at a later stage, Al-Qaeda in Yemen took responsibility for the attack. This attack was followed by another in a kosher supermarket in Paris.

The gunman of the second attack pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group. A few days later, Belgian authorities successfully disrupted another terrorist group, which was planning an imminent attack in Belgium. After the attacks and raids, and during the investigations conducted by local authorities, Europol’s counter-terrorism experts and analysts were available around the clock to further assist in the investigations.

Europol immediately performed cross checks in its databases on the names of the identified perpetrators to look for possible accomplices, produced a significant number of unique financial intelligence leads, monitored extremist propaganda online and offered these and other operational services, including weapons trafficking expertise, to the French and Belgian authorities. Both terrorist attacks led to worldwide outrage and demonstrated the relevance of intensive international police cooperation.

Intelligence tracks financing of terrorism img

Intelligence tracks financing of terrorism


Terrorist groups depend on regular cash flows. With those they finance travelling, the training and recruitment of members, forging of documents, acquiring weapons, and staging attacks.

Europol’s Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) tracks activities associated with suspected acts of terrorist planning and financing. With over 6300 TFTP derived intelligence leads on counter terrorism investigations delivered to EU Member States, Europol helps to track terrorists and their support networks worldwide.

700 EU explosives and CBRN specialists share intelligence img

700 EU explosives and CBRN specialists share intelligence


The EU Bomb Data System provides a platform for the timely sharing of relevant information and intelligence on incidents involving explosives and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials. Over 700 experts from almost all EU Member States, Europol, Norway and the United States are already connected and using the system. The cooperation among CBRN specialists is facilitated by the European Explosive Ordinance Disposal Network. Experts meet at least once a year to compare their respective protocols. This work is highly important for the response to incidents with cross-border aspects.

Europol informs on terrorism in the TE-SAT intelligence report img

Europol informs on terrorism in the TE-SAT intelligence report

Download the publication “TE-SAT 2014: Trend Report”:


Since 2007, Europol has provided law enforcement and intelligence officials, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, policymakers and the general public with facts and figures regarding terrorism in the EU. Within its EU Terrorism situation and trend report (TE-SAT), Europol also identifies trends in the development of terrorism.

EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2014 (TE-SAT 2014)