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Lone-Actor Terrorism: Analysis Paper

Clare Ellis, Raffaello Pantucci, Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn, Edwin Bakker, Benoît Gomis, Simon Palombi and Melanie Smith
Occasional Papers, 29 February 2016
International Security Studies, Lone-Actor Terrorism, Terrorism and Conflict, UK Counter-terrorism, Domestic Security, Terrorism
A systematic analysis of lone-actor terrorists reveals considerable variation in terms of individual characteristics, methodologies, motivations and indicators of violent intent

Countering Lone-Actor Terrorism Series: No. 4

The aim of the Countering Lone-Actor Terrorism (CLAT) project is to understand lone-actor terrorism in a European context. The project will develop a database of lone-actor cases from across Europe. Its overall objective is to see if it is possible to discern any trends or patterns that could be translated into useful observations or recommendations for practitioners and policy-makers.

This fourth paper of the series conducts a detailed examination of the lone-actor terrorist database. The findings reaffirm a key assertion from the earlier literature review: there is no consistent profile for a lone-actor terrorist. However, systematic analysis of cases from across Europe has provided valuable insights into the scale of the threat, the ways in which it is most likely to manifest, and the activities of lone-actor terrorists in the time leading up to the attack.

About the Authors

Clare Ellis is a Research Analyst in the National Security and Resilience Studies Group at RUSI.

Raffaello Pantucci is Director of International Security Studies at RUSI.

Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn is a Researcher at the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism at Leiden University and Research Fellow of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague.

Professor Edwin Bakker is Director of the Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism at Leiden University and Fellow of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague.

Benoît Gomis is an international security analyst focusing on terrorism and organised crime.

Simon Palombi is a consultant for the International Security Department at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).

Melanie Smith is a Researcher and Coordinator at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

About the Project

The Countering Lone-Actor Terrorism (CLAT) project is co-funded by the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme of the European Union, and has been undertaken by a RUSI-led consortium. Partnering institutions include Chatham House, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and Leiden University, one of the founding organisations of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) at The Hague.

Raffaello Pantucci
Senior Associate Fellow

Raffaello Pantucci's research focuses on terrorism and counter-terrorism as well as China's relations with its Western neighbours... read more

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