The first half of 2016 has seen the largest number of terror-related deaths in Western Europe for over ten years.
Over 140 people died in terror attacks between January and July this year – the highest number since 2004 when 191 people were killed in the Madrid train bombings – according to figures obtained by the BBC from the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database (GTD).
Although the number is still lower than in the 1970s – which saw the height of attacks by European groups such as the Irish Republican Army (IRA), Basque separatist group ETA and various extreme left wing factions – the figures suggest terror is on the rise again, due in a large part to Islamist violence.
Attacks so far this year include March’s attacks in Brussels, which saw 32 people killed, the truck attack in the French city of Nice in July that resulted in 85 people killed, and the martyrdom of French priest Jacques Hamel at the hands of Islamists later the same month.
Other incidents include a stabbing at a railway station near Munich on 10 May in which a man shouted “Allahu akbar” before killing one person and injuring three others.
Taking Europe as a whole, the figure rises even higher to 892 deaths so far in 2016. These figures include Turkey, which witnessed a bloody failed coup last month as well as numerous attacks by Kurdish militants. The GTD counts the attempted coup as a terror attack.
There were 1,580 terror-related deaths worldwide in July alone, with Europe accounting for 30 per cent of this figure.
The rise of Islamist attacks in Europe is fuelling the rise of anti-establishment so-called ‘populist’ parties such as the Front National in France.
Latest polling suggests Front National leader Marine Le Pen could top the first round of next year’s French Presidential Election.
In the wake of the Nice attack, her approval ratings surged with a BVA poll putting her on 27 per cent, ahead of her rivals.