Inferno Terror: Forest Fires as the New Form of Terrorism, In: Terrorism and Political Violence, pages 1-13, Published online: 11 Jul 2017

ID: 201707111497

Between the 18th and 26th of November 2016, 220 different locations went up in flames in the Israeli forest. Israeli firefighters were powerless to contain the fires, so army and police units had to contribute. Thousands of civilian volunteers also joined the fight against the fire. The Israeli firemen were unable to curb the continuously blazing fires, which is why the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, asked and received international support. The operation lasted for eight days, more than 1,700 fires were eliminated, but the conflagration caused considerable damage. Due to the extremely dry and windy periods, many blamed the weather conditions for the damage, but it soon became clear that in several cases, the cause was arson. Although arson as a method of extremism has been continuously practiced in many incidents worldwide, it is still beyond the scope of research on terrorism. This essay aims to prove that we have to raise awareness of the issue, highlighting both relevant incidents and the extremist group’s propaganda incentive towards the enhanced use of arson. We raise the question whether on the basis of the incidents in Israel, arson could become a frequently used method of European terrorist units or individuals. And if yes, how the national counter-terrorist and law-enforcement agencies may adapt to the challenge of hardly controllable arson in order to minimize the chance of similarly executed attacks in the future.

Land: ISR