Europe on 'alert' for jihadist attacks on New Year's Eve as threat soars

Police man in Paris

Intelligence experts warn that the war in Gaza has fuelled a new wave of radicalisation and a planned Islamic State terrorist attack could take place on New Years Eve

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Georgina Cutler

By Georgina Cutler


Published: 30/12/2023

- 12:48

Updated: 30/12/2023

- 13:30

An expert claims capital cities across Europe have been living under the shadow of jihadist violence

Intelligence experts warn that the war in Gaza has fuelled a new wave of radicalisation and a planned Islamic State terrorist attack could take place on New Years Eve.

Capital cities in Europe have been living under the shadow of jihadist violence during the final months of 2023, according to the expert.


It comes after Hamas launched its offensive on Israel on October 7 which has led to a total death toll of 21,507 since the attacks.

This attack has reportedly caused a wave of radicalisation across the West.

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Since October 7, there have been two terrorist attacks in France and one in Belgium.

Concerns have been growing that Islamic State (Isis) is using the anger in many European Muslim communities to rebuild their base.

Further alerts or terror-related arrests have also been prominent in Vienna, Copenhagen, Madrid, Rotterdam and the German cities of Berlin, Duisburg, Cologne, Leverkusen, Hanover and Bielefeld.

"The mobilisation since October 7 has been enormous and groups such as Isis and al-Qaeda are hoping to capitalise on the sense of outrage," Peter Neumann, professor of security studies at King’s College London (KCL) told The Times.

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"We are seeing a movement that was almost dying out being reactivated and rejuvenated."

Six days after the October attacks, a teacher was stabbed and killed at his school in northern France by a former pupil from a Chechen background.

Weeks later, Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab, a convert to Islam, stabbed a German tourist to death and slashed two others with a hammer opposite the Eiffel Tower.

On Friday Gérald Darmanin, the French interior minister, said he had issued orders for 90,000 police officers and gendarmes to be mobilised this weekend because of a “highly elevated terror threat”.

Policemen are seen in front of a house in Berlin's Friedrichshain district, as a raid was under way against HamasEurope on alert: Hamas-linked Christmas terror plot foiled across continent as Britain remains vigilantGetty

The situation is similar in Belgium, after the shooting of two Swedish football fans in Brussels on October 16.

Pieter Van Ostaeyen, a terrorism expert at Leuven university said: "I will certainly not celebrate New Year’s Eve in the centre of Brussels.

"The number of radicalised people on European soil? Nobody knows. It is the weak point of our security services. You can control as much as you want.

"If someone suddenly takes out a knife under the Eiffel Tower and starts stabbing, you can never prevent that. The same with a terrorist who fills his backpack with explosives and blows himself up in the middle of a crowd."

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