Recently, lone wolf attack was carried out by an individual in London.
About Lone wolf Attack
- These attacks involve threat and also use of violence by a single perpetrator (or a small cell).
- A lone wolf acts without any direct support of any other group or other individual in the planning, preparation and execution of the attack.
- Though lone wolf prefers to act totally alone, Also his or her radicalisation to action maybe spurred by violent media images, incendiary books, manifestos, and fatwas.
- Ranging from threatening and intimidating people to indiscriminate shootings, vehicle ramming, stabbing and suicide bombings, lone wolf terror attacks have become a grave threat.
- Long-term data reveals the proportion of lone wolf attacks, has risen from under five per cent in the mid-1970s to above 70 per cent for the period between 2014 and 2018.
– U.K. itself has seen 3 major incidents involving knife attacks since November, 2019.
Reasons for recent increase in The attacks
Ease of radicalisation through technology:
Number of online forums and social media profiles, where hate-speech and also pro-terrorist sentiment flourishes, has increased. They act as source of inspiration and aid to forge connections to like-minded extremists.
- Also The open access of resources which provides instructions on how to prepare weapons have found widespread usage globally.
According to some estimates, more than 40 percent of attacks were perpetrated by people with diagnosed mental illness.
- Many youth are at greater risk of mental health conditions due to their living conditions, stigma, discrimination or exclusion, or lack of access to quality support and services making them more prone to radicalisation.
Increasing extreme ideological movement.
Extreme ideological movements are also growing stronger in several European countries. Agitators have exploited the fear of religious minorities and refugees in order to undermine public confidence in government and turn them against the society.
Ease of execution:
Terrorist organisations have embraced this tactic to spread violence in countries where coordinated big attacks are difficult to execute due to stringent security.
Lax Gun Control regime:
It also favours lone wolfs in carrying out attacks with mass casualties.
Threats associated with Lone Wolf Attacks
Hard to detect and prevent:
The tools of intelligence agencies , including undercover sources and intercepted communications, are less effective against an individual who is not communicating his plans and intentions to others.
Hurdles in Profiling:
Lone wolf terrorists comprise a wide variety of extremists. Among them are religious bigots, environmental, animal rights extremists etc. Even at the level of the ideological or religious background there is too much variety. This makes it harder to counter them at ideological level.
Hard to distinguish from internet banter:
It is extremely difficult to differentiate between those extremists who intend to commit attacks and those who simply express radical beliefs or issue hollow threats.
Providing a template to violence – prone misfits who might otherwise not have acted:
People who might not have the means, or desire to actually join a terrorist organization might come to see lone wolf attacks as an appealing way to express their rage and avenge perceived injustice.
Lone Wolf attacks in India
- Weakening position of the IS in Iraq and Syria reduces chances of a traditional regrouping of the terrorist organisation. Hence, the groups might prefer ‘lone wolf’ attacks by their members, sympathisers, would-be militants and foreign fighters in India.
- Possibility of Enemy countries using it as a tool to advance its state-sponsored terrorism against India.
- By sponsoring a widespread circulation of extremist literature and propaganda across India, both online and offline, Enemy countries may resort to influencing the ‘lone wolves’ to carry out terror attacks in India.
- High potential damage of lone wolf attacks due to presence of densely populated areas and illegal networks for obtaining firearms in India.
Spread of fake news and misinformation:
Fake news propagated through social media sites crystalise biased narratives and seem to legitimise and reinforce the desire to seek violence against the “other”.
Steps taken to prevent it.
- Strict laws have made gaining access to explosives, also light weapons and other ammunitions in India immensely difficult.
- India’s cultural pluralism and democratic values has helped counter extremist ideologies.
- India has the third largest Muslim population in the world. It has only a minuscule fragment of the population has expressed interest in joining IS.
- Strong security apparatus along with the reforms in the counter-terrorism structure in the aftermath of 2008 Mumbai terror attacks is a major deterrent to the ‘lone wolves.’
- A multi-pronged approach towards radicalisation must be adopted by the government.
- Monitoring social media can help officials spot potential attackers without previous connections to other terrorists.
- Governments should continue with Facebook and also Twitter to tighten restrictions on accounts linked to terror groups.
- Try to make lone-wolf attacks less lethal by limiting access to explosive materials, semiautomatic weapons etc.
- Focus on gathering intelligence, arresting suspected cell leaders, and destroying terrorist command centre involved in radicalisation activities.
- Proactive measures such as training and equipping the local police should be initiate.
- Big data analytics can also be use to discern the level of radicalisation.
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