CEP Marks 20th Anniversary Of The Madrid Train Bombings

(New York, N.Y. and Berlin, Germany) – Today, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) marks the solemn occasion of the 20th anniversary of the devastating Madrid train bombings, in which 193 were killed and over 2,000 injured by Islamist terrorists. The bombings remain one of the most devastating terror attacks in Europe, and led to the establishment of the European Day of Remembrance to commemorate all victims of terror. This anniversary serves as a stark reminder of the enduring danger posed by terrorism and the ongoing struggle to counter extremist ideologies two decades on.

Established Islamist terror groups such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah continue to represent organized threats, with attack plans by their loyalists and returning fighters in Europe regularly uncovered. The ongoing conflict in Gaza has provided fresh impetus for ISIS and al-Qaeda in particular to maintain relevance, with both calling for strikes against the West and Jews.

The newer threat of individual radicalization through the internet has meanwhile made identifying and tracking potential terrorists increasingly hard. Young people are at particular risk of exposure to this material. We must continue to put pressure on social media platforms and messenger services to ensure that extremist online content is blocked immediately. We must also invest further in de-radicalization programmes, to provide alternatives to those who have fallen for messages of hatred.

Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler, Senior Director of the Counter Extremism Project, remarks:

"The evolution of technology and the proliferation of online platforms have significantly altered the landscape of extremism and terrorism. Today, terrorists continue to exploit the internet to radicalise, recruit, and communicate with unprecedented ease, posing a formidable challenge to law enforcement and counterterrorism efforts.

Addressing the challenge of returning fighters also remains a substantial problem. Groups like al Qaeda and ISIS are in many ways as strong and dangerous as ever. The relevant authorities need to be given the right guidelines and proper resources to identify threats and prevent them before they can be put into action.

As we stand in solidarity with the victims of Madrid, it is imperative that we remain vigilant and united in our efforts to combat terrorism in all its forms. Through cooperation, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to our shared values, we can work towards a safer and more resilient future for all.”

Dr. Schindler has detailed the issue of the continuing and changing face of terrorism further in an article today in Euronews.

To read CEP’s Tech and Terrorism reports, please click here.

To read CEP’s Spain Country report, please click here.

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On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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