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Share via:. Abstract: Since Septemberthe Islamic State has been successful in persuading teenagers and pre-teens in the West to carry out attacks there. As of the end ofthere had been 34 such plots in seven countries, with civilians most commonly targeted and knives repeatedly the weapon of choice.
In the majority of cases, the plotters were in direct contact with the Islamic State. The data also suggests that this problem is worsening; on average, there were two plots per month in The first person to take up the instruction, two days later, was an Australian teenager.
Abdul Numan Haider was 18 years old when he stabbed two police officers in Melbourne before being shot and killed. In the past two years, the Islamic State has inspired, and in some cases directed, teenagers and even pre-teens to carry out a series of terror operations in the West.
The ability to draw Western youth into Islamist terror networks is not unique to the Islamic State. Yet the Islamic State has had far more success in recruiting Western teens and pre-teens than any other terrorist group. In France alone, almost 2, teenagers are assessed by French officials to have been radicalized by the Islamic State, with a percent increase between and At least 17 of its teenagers have been killed fighting in Syria or Iraq.
The dissemination of its propaganda online is part of the reason the Islamic State has been able to find unparalleled success with this demographic group. For example, according to one American survey, only two percent of individuals between 13 and 33 years of age do not use social media platforms. The Islamic State has also had success in appealing to young girls. This article focuses on teens and pre-teens in the West those aged between 12 and 19 that have become involved in Islamic State terrorism. It draws on data the author collected on all terror attacks and plots involving those in this age range that have emerged in the West and were claimed, directed, encouraged, or inspired b by the Islamic State.
Parts of the data relate to pending court cases. In such cases, all comment from the author hypothesizes that prosecution claims will be borne out, but this study does not explore the detail of any case or offer any judgment. Due to reporting restrictions on minors charged with crimes, extensive biographical details for these individuals are not always disclosed.
However, using what information is publicly available, this study outlines the emerging trends. Trends Volume Between September and Decembera total of 34 plots or alleged plots were organized by Islamic State-inspired or -directed teens and pre-teens. These 34 plots involved 44 teenage and pre-teen participants. The threat appears to be growing. Inthere were seven plots involving teenagers and pre-teens. Inthere were 24 71 percent of the total. Therefore, there was an average of two plots per month involving teens or pre-teens inwith nine plots uncovered in September alone.
Age and Gender The mean age of these participants is Of the 44 participants, 35 80 percent were male, and nine 20 percent were female. The country most commonly targeted was France, which has faced 11 plots 32 percent of the total amount. The next most commonly targeted was Australia 8 plots, or 24 percentfollowed by Germany 7 plots, or 21 percent.
All of the German plots and all but one of the French plots occurred insuggesting the threat to Europe from this type of terrorism increased ificantly that year. On one occasion, that of the year-old German Iraqi who planted two bombs in Germany, authorities were unaware of the plan yet the actual attack failed. The child placed a nail bomb at a Christmas market on November 26, which failed to detonate, and then another near a city hall on December 5, which a passerby noticed and reported to the police.
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On another occasion, in Septemberan year-old Australian teenager was arrested after acting suspiciously near the Sydney Opera House. The teen was in possession of automotive fluid but not a viable explosive device. In all the other plots, the attacks were carried out. These occurred in Germany on a further three occasionsFrance, Australia twice and the United States twice.
Targeting Civilians were the most common target of these plots. That was the case in 17 plots 50 percent five in France, four in the United States, three in Germany, two in Australia, one in Austria, one in Denmark, and one in the United Kingdom.
Three of these plots on civilians—two in Australia, one in France—also targeted the police. Including these three plots, the police were targeted on seven 21 percent separate occasions five plots in Australia and one in France and Germany. The military was the intended target on three occasions once in the United States, once in the United Kingdom, and once in France. The U. In the remaining cases, the target was not disclosed or had not been finalized by the perpetrator s.
Weapons The weapon of choice in 12 35 percent of these plots was an edged weapon. One case involved the use of a machete the stabbing of a Jewish teacher in Marseille. Edged weapons were used alongside other instruments. Madani was allegedly part of a cell suspected of planning a series of attacks, including the bombing of a train station in Paris. The plot was disrupted after a car belonging to Madani that contained five gas cylinders and three petrol tanks was allegedly discovered near Notre Dame Cathedral.
Six cases involved the use of firearms. This included three cases in the United States, none of which came to fruition. There was also one failed plot involving a firearm in Australia and one in the United Kingdom. However, one of the plots saw a year-old shoot dead an Australian police official in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta in October On nine occasions, the method of attack was either undisclosed or ultimately unclear due to the plot being insufficiently advanced. Contact with the Islamic State In 21 of the 34 plots See Figure 1.
On 17 occasions, this contact took place only electronically, with encrypted messaging services such as Telegram proving popular. In eight of these cases, teenage perpetrators were in contact with the same man: a Syria-based French terrorist named Rachid Kassim. In only four cases These all related to plots three in Germany, one in Denmark.
Social Plotting Of the 34 plots, it appears there are only seven cases Yet there are caveats to some of these cases. There are several likely reasons why teenagers tend to be more commonly involved in plots with others, as opposed to acting alone. Teenagers and pre-teens may be more vulnerable to peer pressure both from adults or their peersand they may require expertise from more experienced individuals or guidance from charismatic recruiters in order to fulfill their plans.
However, it should also be remembered that terrorist plots involving individual actors of all ages whose offenses were not reliant upon or connected to any kind of network are actually exceedingly rare. It is notable, however, that in five of these seven cases where individuals were acting autonomously and alone, their plotting went unnoticed.
On four of these occasions, they were able to carry out their attacks always involving an edged weapon and leading to a total of seven injuries. The conventional wisdom that so-called lone-wolf attacks using easily purchasable weapons are harder for authorities to detect and subsequently stop is backed up by the admittedly very limited dataset used in this study. In 14 of the 34 plots 41 percentyoungsters worked in domestic cells with others who lived in the same country.
Nine of these cells 26 percent contained at least one adult. Five 15 percent were comprised solely of other youngsters. The highest of teenagers or children in any one cell was three—those responsible for bombing a Sikh temple in Essen, Germany, in April Of these 14 plots involving cells, eight 24 percent were also in contact with the Islamic State six in electronic contact; two had some form of face-to-face contact. The other six Aspirant or Frustrated Travelers Fourteen of the 34 plots 41 percent involved individuals who had expressed an interest in traveling to Syria to the Islamic State.
The other three plots had seen individuals either express an interest in travel to Syria after carrying out the attack or it was unclear when exactly they wished to make the journey. Both the murderers of French priest Jacques Hamel had tried to travel to Syria. This was the case with a cell based in the south of France that then allegedly planned an attack on a military base in July Safia S.
She stabbed a policeman in Hanover in February Further Observations There are other trends becoming apparent in these cases that should be monitored as more data becomes available. For example, there are multiple cases of parents alerting the authorities to increasingly radical behavior of their children. This illustrates how parents are clearly useful in identifying changes in behavior and possible violent leanings.
However, these cases are not always black and white. There were only two known converts to Islam among the teenage offenders: the North Carolinian Sullivan and an unnamed year-old Danish girl, who planned to bomb two Copenhagen schools and worked alongside an individual who had fought with the Islamic State in Syria in order to do so. However, the low figure in this study should not be seen as surprising because converts in Islamist terrorist cases tend to carry out offenses later in life. There were five plots 15 percent of the total perpetrated by refugees, all of which took place in One of these attacks was carried out by Abdul Artan, a Somali refugee who lived in the United States and injured 11 people in Ohio during an attack that the Islamic State later claimed was carried out on its behalf.Teen girl chat Marseille
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The Islamic State’s Western Teenage Plotters