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TerrorismHigh likelihood of large-scale terrorist attacks in 2017: WEF

Published 13 January 2017

The World Economic Forum (WEF) said that large-scale terrorist attacks – not only lone-wolf attacks — are among the likely threats for which states must prepare in 2017. This is the first time large-scale terrorist attacks have made it to the WEF’s annual “Global Risks” report since the report was first launched a dozen years ago:

The World Economic Forum (WEF) said that large-scale terrorist attacks – not only lone-wolf attacks — are among the likely threats for which states must prepare in 2017.

Business Insider notes that this is the first time large-scale terrorist attacks have made it to the WEF’s annual “Global Risks” reportsince the report was first launched a dozen years ago:

WEF defines large-scale terrorist attacks as “individuals or non-state groups with political or religious goals that successfully inflict large-scale human or material damage.”

The WEF reports notes that technology is likely to play an increasing role — both positive and negative — in society:

Technological advances have expanded civic space by providing citizens and organizations with new opportunities to make their voices heard, express their grievances and demand their rights, and innovative ways to hold decision-makers to account. They offer virtual platforms for citizens to engage and mobilize on issues they care about.

At the same time, ICT and other technological tools benefit individuals or groups seeking to leverage technology for the spreading of hate, misinformation and extremism, and present challenges for law enforcement and other governmental authorities attempting to monitor terrorist activity. Technological tools are also being used to increase surveillance and control over citizens, whether for legitimate security concerns or in an attempt to eradicate criticism and opposition.

Restricting new opportunities for democratic expression and mobilization, and by consequence the digitally enabled array of civil, political and economic rights (such as the right to work and education; freedom of expression)– just as citizens have become more connected and engaged – creates a potentially explosive situation.”

The last two years have seen several large-scale terrorist attacks, among them:

Christmas market attack in Berlin, Germany — ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack in which s terrorist drove a truck into a Christmas market in the German city, killing twelve people and injuring dozens of others in December 2016.

Bastille Day attack in Nice, France— A terrorist killed eighty-six people and injured more than 400 after a truck ploughed into a crowd on the Promenade des Anglais in July 2016.

Bomb attacks in Brussels, BelgiumISIS claimed responsibility for bombers that killed thirty-five people in the Belgian capital’s airport and metro station, in March last year.

Paris, France attacks— Several coordinated attacks in Paris killed 130 people in November 2015.