“Polarization” caused by the Israel-Hamas war is leading to a “huge risk of terrorist attacks”, the European Union’s Home Affairs Commissioner has warned.

European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson has made a warning about terrorism in the run-up to Christmas — what she calls the “holiday season” — and although not citing any specific intelligence or threat, nevertheless saying the risk level is “huge”.

Speaking before a meeting of European Union interior ministers, Johansson said: “With the war between Israel and Hamas, and the polarization it causes in our society, with the upcoming holiday season, there is a huge risk of terrorist attacks in the European Union”.

Johansson said the rising tide of violence had already started and cited Saturday’s terror attack in Paris in which one tourist was killed and two injured near the Eiffel Tower.

The remarks by the top European politician comes just days after Germany’s federal political police warned the Hamas attack against Israel was inspiring a rise in antisemitic and anti-Western extremism. Lone wolf attacks are a real threat, the bureau said, adding that cross-group dynamics in the global Islamist scene had shifted in the wake of the Hamas attack.

Groups that once professed to hate each other, for reasons such differing interpretations of the Quran or methods in spreading their beliefs — such as Hamas, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State — are now expressing mutual support in ways that “previously seemed hardly conceivable”, said Germany.  The director of the body said: “now a new [situation] is emerging: in the jihadist spectrum, we see calls for assassinations and to [link up between] Al-Qaeda and [Islamic State] over the Middle East conflict. This danger now affects highly emotional people who are inspired by trigger events. This can lead to the radicalization of perpetrators acting alone who attack ‘soft targets’ with simple means.”

The report came as German police arrested two migrant teenagers who they accused of plotting to attack a Christmas market in Cologne. The “polarization” that Home Affairs Commissioner Johansson claims is being caused by the Hamas attack on Israel is certainly being felt in Germany, for instance, with one monitoring group reporting antisemitic hate incidents are up 320 per cent since the terror attack against the Jewish state.

The report stated: “Jews are hiding signs and symbols: a cap over the kippah, the Star of David pendant under the scarf, they no longer speak Hebrew on the street… Jewish life in Berlin has become less visible, less openly lived.”