Although it has been only a few years since the Paris attacks in 2015 and the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, there was a sense that extremist threats had been reduced.
The decline and fall of ISIS, for instance, seemed to take the wind out of the sails of extremists. ISIS had radicalized many and used social media to recruit more than 5,000 fighters in Europe. Many European women, some of them converts, flocked to join ISIS. But ISIS apparently lost some of its popularity.
The recent victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan may have given some hope to extremists in the world. But the Taliban appear more state-minded and tame than in the past. They are openly linked to Turkey, Qatar, Pakistan and other countries that want to work with them or have supported them.
That means they are more bourgeoisie, enjoying time at the Doha Sheraton, and joining the jet-set elites who fly from country to country in luxury.
How much that motivates extremists is not clear.
In addition, al-Qaeda, which once inspired religious haters the world over, has grown old and tired, barely able to run parts of Idlib Province under its Syrian version, called HTS.
There are many groups across Europe, such as drug gangs, that have guns. But the fact that – unlike ISIS in 2015 in Belgium and Paris and other places – these perpetrators didn’t build bombs or have guns, means the kind of planning behind these attacks may be more simple. That points to more lone-wolf organizing and extremism.