The Dec. 29 arrest of five men suspected of plotting a deadly shooting siege in Denmark – just nine days after a dozen men were seized in Britain on suspicions they were preparing a bombing strike – offers further evidence that the high levels of alert across Europe are well-founded.
But the flurry of recent news produced by European terror action also shows that, with the notable exception of the lone extremist who blew himself up in Stockholm on Dec. 11 in an apparently botched bombing, authorities seem to be catching more al-Qaeda-inspired plotters before they manage to attack. So what’s behind that apparent success? Are security authorities getting better at picking off increasingly autonomous groups of disparate jihadists as they quietly ready for strikes? Or is it just that the public is hearing more about what’s actually routine preventive activity?