EU terror attacks down 33 pct in 2009: Europol
Thirty-three percent fewer terrorist acts, a total of 294, were last year committed in the European Union, excluding the United Kingdom, policing agency Europol said on Wednesday.
"The overall number of terrorist attacks ... decreased by 33 percent compared to 2008 and is almost half of the number of attacks reported in 2007," the agency said in a statement.
Most of the attacks were committed by separatist groups such as the ETA in Spain and the Corsican National Liberation Front (FLNC) in France.
While the number of separatist attacks dropped 40 percent, the number of fatalities rose from four to six, said the statement.
"Islamist terrorism is still perceived as the biggest threat to most member states, despite the fact that only one Islamist terrorist attack -- a bomb attack in Italy -- took place in the EU in 2009," Europol said.
A Libyan threw a home-made device at a police barracks in Italy in October last year, only to be blinded and lose a hand.
Europol defines a terrorist offence as any act, planned or executed, that may seriously damage a country or an international organisation if committed to intimidate a population, put pressure on a government or destabilise political, constitutional, economic or social structures.
UK data is excluded from the report because of record-keeping differences with the rest of the EU.
© 2010 AFP