Fifteen years after the horrifying events on 9/11, the West’s vulnerability to terrorism continues to grow.
September 11, 2001 in many ways marked the start of a 21st century where Islamist extremism made its presence on enemy turf known with large-scale attacks. Bombings in Madrid, London, Boston, Paris and Brussels have followed, and lone-wolf attacks have become an almost daily occurrence in Europe.
A group of al-Qaida-inspired terrorists killed 192 people, and wounded more than 2,000, with coordinated train bombings March 11, 2004 in Madrid. A similar attack, this time on the London Underground subway system, killed 52 civilians and injured another 784 on July 7, 2005.
The rise of Islamic State in 2014 changed the playing field in a big way after years of relatively low activity.
The past two years have seen the most terror-related deaths in the U.S. since 2001, after attacks in Chattanooga, San Bernardino and most recently a gay nightclub in Orlando in June.
The situation is even worse in Europe, which saw 30 percent of the worldwide terror death toll in July.
Three separate attacks in France have killed more than 230 people since the start of 2015. Brussels, capital of the European Union and ISIS’s European activity, suffered two bombings that killed 32 civilians March 23. (RELATED: Step Inside The One District In Brussels That’s Connected To Nearly Every Major Terror Attack On The West)
With 143 terror-related deaths in Western Europe during the first seven months of the year, 2016 is on pace to become the deadliest in the region since 1980.
The rising number of fatalities is not just the result of suicide bombers. Lone-wolf stabbings in the name of jihad have become increasingly common in recent years. Police officers in Denmark and France have been victims of either shootings or stabbings by jihadists in September, and Christian priests in Belgium and France were stabbed in late July.
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