Chilling map shows far-right terror has exploded as deaths soar by 700% in attacks 'inspired' by Breivik's 2011 massacre

FAR-right terror attacks are rocketing with deaths soaring by 700 per cent in atrocities "inspired" by neo-Nazi Anders Breivik's massacre.

The 2020 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) found that despite a fall in the overall terrorism death toll some extremist factions are deadlier than ever.

In the West, far-right terror attacks soared by 250 per cent between 2014 and 2019 with the number of victims dying rising by 709 per cent.

There have now been more than 35 far-right terrorist incidents in the West every year for the past five years, ,the report reveals.

The terrifying rise appears to have been sparked by the 2011 massacre at a Norwegian summer camp by hate-fuelled Breivik, say experts.

The neo-Nazi dressed up as a cop and shot 69 dead at the annual summer camp of the left-wing Labor party’s youth wing.

"It was after that we started to see a big increase in far-right attacks", said Steve Killelea, founder of the Institute of Economic and Peace which produces the annual index.

“A lot of them would see him as a figure who inspired them.”

Last year 89 of the 108 deaths from terrorism in the West were caused by far-right extremists.

Horror attacks included the mosque shootings in New Zealand which left 51 dead and the massacre at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, which claimed 23 lives.

Other sickening attacks since the Breivik massacre include the 2017 mosque gun attack in Quebec, the 2016 Munich shopping mall attack and the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

“When you’re looking at terrorism in advanced economies, it’s driven by disenfranchisement from society and alienation from the system,” Killelea told the Times.

The reports key findings:

  • In North America, Western Europe, and Oceania, far-right attacks have increased by 250 per cent since 2014. 
  • Deaths from terrorism fell for the fifth consecutive year in 2019 to 13,826, a 15 per cent decrease from the prior year. 
  • 63 countries recorded at least one death from terrorism, the lowest number since 2013 .
  • The global economic impact of terrorism was US$16.4 billion in 2019, a decrease of 25 per cent from the previous year. 
  • ISIS's centre of gravity moves to sub-Saharan Africa with total deaths in the region increasing by 50.
  • ISIS affiliates were responsible for deaths in 27 countries in 2019 

“Individuals doing it would see deep flaws within society and trying to right what they see as wrong trends.”

Experts say far-right terrorism is often hard to prevent as it often involves “lone wolf” actors fuelled by hate spread on the internet.

Killelea said: “That makes it very hard for a security operation to get out in advance.

"If it’s an organised group you can always have someone penetrate the group.”

The overall number of terror-related deaths in 2019 fell to 13,826 – a 15 per cent decrease from the previous year.

The largest decreases in deaths occurred in Afghanistan and Nigeria, however they are still the only two countries to have experienced more than 1,000 deaths from terrorism.

The report also reveals ISIS is now shifting its focus from attacks in the Middle East and North Africa to sub-Saharan Africa.

Recent terror attacks in France and Austria also suggest smaller groups sympathetic to ISIS are still active in Europe and represent an ongoing threat.

Experts have also seen a huge increase in Islamist and far-right propaganda on social media as extremists try to exploit a captive audience during lockdown.

Milo Comerford, from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), said zealots have tried to take advantage of the "chaos and uncertainty" caused by the global pandemic to spread extremist messages.

In a paper published as part of the GTI report, he said one pro-ISIS network on Facebook used "a web of several hundred accounts" to "expand" spreading propaganda between April and July.

It used tactics to avoid the content being removed, including hiding it by starting videos with legitimate news footage before moving to extremist material.

Covid-related hashtags were used on Islamist messaging to draw in unsuspecting users, and one anti-vaccine Facebook page with thousands of followers was hijacked by ISIS supporters.

Comerford told the PA news agency: "It shouldn't be a surprise that these bad actors are trying to use the chaos and the uncertainty around Covid to spread their extremist messaging.

"It's pretty fertile ground for people spreading really divisive, violent, supremacist messaging. We've seen this across the ideological spectrum.

"We've seen a major proliferation of extremist content during the lockdown and that's partly because there's a lot more of a captive audience."

Researchers from the ISD tracked the hijacking of popular coronavirus hashtags in Arabic by extremists, finding more than 500,000 views of pandemic-related ISIS video content on Twitter.

Last week the head of UK counter-terrorism policing, Neil Basu, raised concerns about the increased risk of teenagers being radicalised while spending more time online during lockdown.

Figures showed the vast majority of under-18s arrested for terrorist offences in the UK last year – 10 out of 12 – had expressed extreme far-right views.

While Islamist terrorists remain the greatest threat to Britain, Mr Basu said the far right is growing fastest.


Comerford said the following of far-right channels on encrypted messaging platform Telegram rose sharply during the pandemic.

One white supremacist channel grew by more than 6,000 users in March, while another specifically focused on Covid-19 grew from 300 users to 2,700.

Mr Comerford said: "You've certainly got a hardcore of white supremacists, violent activists, on Telegram.

"We saw a huge expansion of those during lockdown. We saw huge user growth across some of the key channels used to spread terrorist content.

"We saw these channels explode with thousands of extra users during this period. We saw big spikes in groups that were specifically tailored towards exploiting the pandemic.

While social media companies have boosted efforts to remove extremist content, he believes simply taking down content will never solve the problem.

A spokesman for Facebook said: "Violent extremist groups and dangerous organisations have no place on our platforms.

"In the last quarter we removed 9.7 million pieces of content for violating our terrorism policies, 99 per cent before it was reported to us.

"However, we recognise content removal alone is not enough which is why we have a dedicated team of over 350 people who are focused on working with experts in law enforcement, counter-terrorism intelligence and academic studies in radicalisation to keep people safe on our platforms."

Telegram and Twitter have also been approached for comment.

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