The article introduces a new dataset on terrorist attack activity by jihadis in Western Europe. The dataset was built over nearly two decades at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. It records not only attacks that were launched, but also plots that were foiled by counterterrorism. The rationale behind the dataset is that analyses based on launched attacks may misrepresent the scale and nature of terrorism. The article shows that if we were to measure the jihadi threat to Europe by attacks only we would miss out on 58.2% of the total attack activity. We also show that while attack data signify a trend towards small attacks by individuals, these data hide the fact that terror networks persist in plotting big attacks that get foiled. We discuss how analyses based on attacks only may distort comparative analyses of different types of terrorists across countries, as well as causal analyses of terrorism drivers. By including foiled plots we gain a fuller picture of terrorism. The Jihadi Plots in Europe Dataset allows the gauging of different aspects of the threat from Al-Qaida and Islamic State in Europe. The dataset documents when and where terror plots occur, whether or not they result in attacks, and different types of information about perpetrators and how they operate. The Dataset offers a reliable overview of jihadi terrorism in Europe for research and policy.
This was originally published on SAGE Publications Ltd: Journal of Peace Research: Table of Contents.