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The lone wolf threat

Topics Covered: Internal security.

The lone wolf threat


The term “lone wolf” is used by US law enforcement agencies and the media to refer to individuals undertaking violent acts of terrorism outside a command structure.

lone actor, lone-actor terrorist, or lone wolf is someone who prepares and commits violent acts alone, outside of any command structure and without material assistance from any group. They may be influenced or motivated by the ideology and beliefs of an external group and may act in support of such a group.

Why in News now?

Because of the recent knife attack at a park in Reading, a town west of London, which killed three people and injured three others.

This incident is yet another reminder of the threat of lone wolf attacks the U.K. is facing.

Since November 2019, the country has seen three such major incidents.

Why its hard to prevent such attacks?

Terrorist organisations embrace this tactic to spread violence in countries where coordinated big attacks are impossible.

In coordinated terror attacks, the chances of competent intelligence agencies detecting the perpetrators are much higher. But, in Lone wolf attacks, extremist individuals translate their beliefs into violent actions, and therefore are hard to detect and prevent.

Need of the hour:

The government and the security agencies need to adopt a multi-pronged approach towards radicalisation, which is anchored in human intelligence, strong ties with communities and community leaders and deradicalisation programmes.

Sources: the Hindu.