The “Lone Wolf” terrorist – a big challenge for counter terrorism bodies

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18190950_s (1)Israeli anti terror experts say that the “Lone Wolf” terrorist can be traced before he acts but that involves a “different set” of intelligence tools and permission by the law.

The Boston attack performed by two brothers will, according to the experts, force the anti terror bodies in the U.S. to change some of their routine processes.

Lone-wolf terrorism has been regarded as a serious threat to public safety in recent years. Moreover, the phenomenon appears to be increasing at an alarming rate. However, the gap between the perceived threat of lone-wolf terrorism on the one hand and the almost exclusive scholarly focus on group-based terrorism on the other indicates the need for more conceptual and empirical examinations of lone-wolf terrorism.

One perspective highlighted in an article published by the journal of terrorism research, is the use of online communication platforms.  In nature, wolves do not hunt alone: they hunt in packs. As this study demonstrates, lone-wolf terrorists are not really alone. They are recruited, radicalized, taught, trained and directed by others. Analysis of all recent cases, reports and studies of these individual attackers reveals the importance to lone wolves of online platforms, ranging from websites to new social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more).

According to the journal of terrorism a lone wolf is someone who commits violent acts in support of some group, movement or ideology, but does so alone, outside of any command structure.

Usually, the lone-wolf terrorist shares an ideological or philosophical identification with an extremist group, but does not communicate with that group. While the lone wolf’s actions are motivated to advance a certain group’s goal, the tactics and methods are conceived and directed solely by the individual, without any outside command or direction.  Because of this lack of any personal contact with a larger group, lone-wolf terrorism poses a particular problem for counter-terrorism officials, for it is considerably more difficult to gather intelligence on lone-wolves than on conventional terrorists.