Taming the solo terrorist

Christopher Stewart on the killers who use the media as a weapon

The World Today Updated 24 November 2020 Published 9 February 2017 2 minute READ

Christopher Stewart

Programme associate, Institute for Strategic Dialogue working on projects to counter radicalization

Last year saw a wave of lone-actor terrorist attacks take place across Europe. In all likelihood, 2017 will be no different. As the Islamic State group continues to lose territory in Syria and Iraq, inspiring lone-actor attacks will become its first priority. Despite the logistical problems that ‘lone actors’ present to police and policy-makers, more can and should be done to prevent and mitigate their impact. The term ‘lone-actor terrorism’ is highly contested. It is generally used to describe the act of a single perpetrator or small cell that executes an attack in the name of a political or religious cause, without financial or material support from a group.

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