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News Analysis: Europe faces long-term challenges in fighting terrorism
August 24,2017   By:Xinhua
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Aug. 24, 2017 -- Toy bears are seen to mourn the victims of terror attack on Las Ramblas street, Barcelona, Spain, on Aug. 18, 2017. The number of people killed in Thursday's double terror attacks rose to 14, after a woman died of injuries at the Joan XXIII hospital, the Catalan emergency services confirmed on Friday. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

BRUSSELS, Aug. 24, 2017 -- Security is on high alert once again across Europe following a series of terrorist attacks in Spain and Finland last week. The consistent presence of terrorism reflected an increasingly serious and complex situation haunting Europe.

The double attacks in Spain's Catalonia that claimed 15 lives and injured over 120 others, and the knife attack Finland's Turku were the latest to rub salt into the EU's wound, as France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden and the United Kingdom still struggle to recover from a number of bloody attacks since 2015.

This year, although European countries continued to strengthen the fight against-terrorism, the momentum of terror attacks in Europe has not diminished, but even showed a high trend. Britain, France, Belgium, and even relatively quiet Nordic and southern Europe have suffered waves of terrorism.

"At the moment, there's an attack every four to six weeks in Europe," Frederic Gallois, the former chief of a French security force, told local media. He added that the international terror groups such as Al-Qaida and Islamic State (IS) deliberately targeted "soft targets" in Europe, or public space with large concentrations of people, as part of their strategy.

Experts said attacks against "soft targets" with high civilian losses can create panic that magnifies the terrorist groups' "cause".

Even if security measures are tightened to prevent a possible attack in symbolic sites around cities, experts warned that citizens' safety cannot be guaranteed 100 percent. "Any gathering of people is a soft target and there are crowds everywhere, " Gallois said.