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International Conference on Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism Leading to Terrorism: The Challenge of Terrorists Acting Alone or in Small Cells.

 

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted (November 9-11) an International Conference on Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism Leading to Terrorism: The Challenge of Terrorists Acting Alone or in Small Cells, with delegates from 41 countries and 10 regional and international organizations, as well as representatives from civil society organizations. The Conference was hosted in cooperation with the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and in consultation with the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate. The hosting of the conference in Israel highlighted its important role internationally in the field of counter-terrorism.


During the Conference, high level officials and experts dealing with this critical issue in their different countries, examined the phenomena of terrorists acting alone or in small cells in a holistic manner. Each of the panel discussions focused on a specialized topic, such as detection, prevention and intervention; criminalization and prosecution of terrorists acting alone; countering the use of different internet platforms by terrorist groups for the purpose of inciting, recruiting and training individuals for terrorism; and the role of penitentiary services in rehabilitating and reintegrating violent extremist offenders. Participants exchanged information, views, lessons learned and good practices based on their national experience during an interactive breakout session with a case study of hypothetical attacks by a terrorist acting alone.


In recent years, states have strengthened their law enforcement measures to prevent the departure and travel of suspected foreign terrorist fighters. As a result, states might be confronted with a potentially growing number of individuals, who might rather seek to commit acts of terrorism at home. The threat posed by self-radicalization, terrorists acting alone or in small cells, and newly emerging terrorist groups, and the potential of the Internet to be utilized by recruiters and to promote violent extremist ideologies and incite the commission of terrorist acts, have all prompted greater international concern. This conference is considered as a major step towards building better understanding of this phenomenon, its origins and driving factors, and how international cooperation is key in order to counter it successfully.