28/06/2018 – News / Retail / Security / Terrorism / Global

New report highlights retail as the corporate sector most impacted by Islamic terrorist attacks, as global threat grows

The global threat posed by IS-inspired terrorism is growing and spreading, according to a report released today by Control Risks. In fact, the global risk consultancy states that the threat from Islamic terrorism has doubled since the emergence of IS, and reveals that retail is the most targeted corporate sector globally.


The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) remains the most affected region, with 2,273 incidents in the year up to 30th April 2018, but the number of attacks in MENA has fallen slightly compared with the previous 12-month period. In contrast, Asia-Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa registered record numbers of incidents over the same period, with 1,392 and 1,549 attacks respectively. Elsewhere, Islamist attacks in EU countries have been on a broadly upward trend in recent years, with 29 Islamist attacks up to the end of April 2018.


Comparing today's Islamist terror threat with the picture before IS emerged, the new report – ‘Changing Patterns in Terrorism and the Threat to Business’ – finds the number of attacks in 2013 (2,676) to have almost doubled, to 5,276 annually, in the year ending 30th April 2018.


“Increasingly diverse, less predictable threats”


Jonathan Wood, Senior Analyst of Transnational Threats at Control Risks,said: “Islamic State is under pressure following territorial losses in the Middle East. But it is not yet defeated as either a military or ideological force. Meanwhile, we are seeing increasingly diverse terrorism threats globally – not necessarily more severe, but often less predictable.”


The threat from Islamist terrorism in the Americas remains generally low and only manifest in North America, with two attacks in the US and two in Canada from 30th April 2017 to 30th April 2018.


Most targeted segments 


Government facilities and the security forces generally bear the brunt of terror attacks across the world. However, when those two categories are lifted from the figures, the report reveals that retail was the most targeted corporate sector globally. Yet the new report highlights large variances between the regions, in terms of targeted sectors. In the EU, the entertainment sector was most targeted, followed by hospitality and rail.


In Asia-Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa, road (vehicles and infrastructure) was the most targeted sector, followed by hospitality in Africa and education in Asia Pacific.


Other types of terrorism – more frequent but far less lethal 


Left-wing, right-wing, anarchist, and ethnic-nationalist actors combined carried out a greater number of attacks than Islamist terrorists worldwide over the past year to 30th April 2018, but their methods and impacts were far less lethal. For example, Control Risks CORE data shows that of the 82 fatalities caused by terrorism in Europe in 2017, all but one were in attacks by Islamist extremists.


Attacks by anarchist militants (mostly in Greece, Germany, Italy and France) account for the majority of terrorism incidents in the EU. Control Risks recorded 99 anarchist attacks across the EU in the year to 30 April 2018. None of them was lethal and typically targeted government and law enforcement assets, but also causing property damage to businesses in the financial and retail sectors.


In contrast to Europe and the US, the lethal impact of left-wing militants in Latin America is much larger. Colombia continues to be the focal point of terrorist activity in Latin America, where the National Liberation Army (ELN) is waging an armed insurgency in rural parts of the country. In the 17 months following the FARC peace accord (November 2016), Control Risks CORE recorded 331 attacks by leftist guerrillas that left 138 people dead.

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