Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre (JTIC), a product from business information provider IHS Markit, has recorded a total of 34 attacks in the UK between January and July 2019, resulting in one non-militant fatality and 22 non-militants wounded.
In the same period in 2018, JTIC recorded 40 attacks, also resulting in a single non-militant fatality, with 13 people wounded.
The majority of the attacks recorded in 2019, 61,8%, occurred in Northern Ireland, indicating the significance of the threat posed by dissident republicanism.
JTIC has noted a shift in the nature of the threat to the UK in the previous year, from more prominent lone-actor Islamist militancy to a more diverse set of actors, including separatist, Islamist, and far-right individuals.
JTIC notes the use of parcel incendiary devices sent by the dissident republican group the New IRA to targets in London and Glasgow in March illustrated the group’s attempts to conduct attacks on the UK mainland.
“The use of such incendiary devices is indicative of dissident republican militants’ low capabilities to conduct successful attacks on the mainland. These weapons are unlikely to result in significant damage or casualties,” says Chris Hawkins, senior analyst at JTIC.
“The threat from dissident republican groups remains largely confined to Northern Ireland itself and groups likely have the intent to up their operational tempo as the Brexit deadline approaches.
“While capabilities are relatively low in comparison to militants’ height of operation between the 70s and 90s, recent improvised explosive devices attacks targeting security forces – most recently in County Fermanagh – illustrate that militants retain the capability to manufacture explosive devices and intend to inflict casualties on police and army personnel,” he adds.
“Between 2017 and 2019, JTIC has noted a small but significant rise in terrorist group actions towards political targets in the UK – pointing towards a possible growth in the far right’s disaffection with the political establishment,” says Alex Theodosiou, analyst at JTIC. “This is likely the result of the UK’s charged, polarized, political situation and might presage increased risk of political figures or establishments being targeted in the coming months.
“An increase in far-right activity is likely following a Brexit that is deemed unsatisfactory to extremist groups – for example, an economic downturn could lead to a potential rise in anti-government sentiment, as well as a possible increase in anti-European sentiment directed at EU nationals.
“The continuation of successful far-right attacks elsewhere – like that in New Zealand’s Christchurch on 15 March – could inspire further attacks in the UK,” says Theodosiou.