Senior EU Official Warns of Significant Security Risk in Europe Over Christmas Amid Ongoing Israel-Hamas Conflict

(AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

   Europe is facing a significant "huge risk of terrorist attacks" during the Christmas holiday season, warns the European Union's home affairs commissioner, Ylva Johansson. The concern stems from the aftermath of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The commissioner highlighted this risk during a gathering of EU interior ministers in Brussels, citing the recent fatal attack near the Eiffel Tower in Paris over the weekend.

The suspect in the Paris attack, who pledged allegiance to the extremist Islamic State group, stabbed a German-Filipino tourist to death and injured two others with a hammer. Questions have been raised about the assailant's mental health.

Johansson emphasized the impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on European security, expressing concerns about the polarization within European societies. She provided a sombre outlook, stating, "With the war between Israel and Hamas, and the polarization it causes in our society, with the upcoming holiday season, there is a huge risk of terrorist attacks in the European Union."

The fallout from the conflict, which saw Hamas' attacks in southern Israel on October 7, resulting in casualties, has extended to Europe. Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel rallies, as well as demonstrations against rising antisemitism, have taken place in various European capitals.

In response to the heightened threat, Johansson announced that the European Commission would allocate an additional 30 million euros ($32.5 million) to enhance security in vulnerable areas, particularly places of worship. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser echoed the concerns, emphasizing the severity of the threat posed by Islamist terrorism in the EU. Faeser stated that security agencies in Germany and neighbouring countries are closely collaborating to address Islamist threats and counteract propaganda.