Teenagers have participated in nearly a quarter of all Islamist terror plots across Europe since 2014, with an alarming uptick in adolescent involvement recorded over the past year, according to a new Heritage Foundation report published Tuesday.
In the first five months of 2017, teenagers participated in eight of 30 documented jihadist plots, or 27 percent—a substantial increase from 2014 and 2015 when young people were involved in just five plots over a two-year span.
The trend so far lags behind 2016, when 22 of the 59 recorded plots, or 37 percent, involved teenagers.
Robin Simcox, a terrorism and national security analyst at the Heritage Foundation who authored the study, said the figures illustrate the Islamic State’s social media savvy in recruiting young people. He said popular encrypted messaging apps, such as Telegram, have enabled ISIS members to contact teenagers in a way terrorist groups in the past could not.