More than two months after suicide bombers and gunmen killed 130 people in Paris, Europe’s top police agency warned that Daesh extremists will continue to try to carry out large-scale attacks throughout the continent.
In a new report released on Monday, Europol said “there is every reason to expect” that Daesh or a group with similar ideology “will undertake a terrorist attack somewhere in Europe again, but particularly in France, intended to cause mass casualties among the civilian population.”
The agency said that a lack of credible intelligence makes the next attack unpredictable.
“Without reliable intelligence on the intentions, activities and contacts and travels of known terrorists it is nearly impossible to exactly predict when and where the next terrorist attack will take place, and what form it will take,” the report said.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the report did not go significantly beyond previous warnings and was not intended to sow fear but, “to look lucidly at reality.”
On Sunday, Daesh released a video celebrating the nine militants who carried out the November 13 attacks in Paris. All of the men, including three French, four Belgian and two Iraqis, died during the attacks or in the aftermath.
“These are the last messages of the nine lions of the caliphate who were mobilized from their lairs to make a whole country, France, get down on its knees,” a narration stated.
The 17-minute video singled out British Prime Minister David Cameron, and many others, as well as warning that those who they revile “will be a target for our swords.”
Europol concluded that Daesh “is preparing more terrorist attacks,” including copycats of the November 2008 attack in Mumbai, where coordinated bombings and shootings by multiple teams of assailants killed 164 people.
“The attacks will be primarily directed at soft targets, because of the impact it generates,” the Europol report said. “Both the November Paris attacks and the October 2015 bombing of a Russian airliner suggest a shift in [Daesh] strategy toward going global.”
Analysts surmise that because Daesh has continued to lose ground in Iraq and Syria, including to a US-led international coalition and the Russian military, it has begun instead to target enemies abroad.