Down But Not Out

The terrorist threat against Europe has mutated in the last half-decade as jihadist groups have seen their Middle East sanctuaries eroded, but analysts say the West must remain braced for more attacks. Both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group -- together responsible for the highest-profile and most horrific terror attacks of the past two decades -- have lost potency as global organisations.

Splinter Cell

Despite splintering into branches and franchises, their murderous ideology is still able to inspire individuals to carry out random attacks in their name. Experts believe the same style of assault would be unlikely to recur now, not least because IS has seen a dramatic loss of its territory and membership in Iraq and Syria.

Lone Wolves

More typical this year were "isolated individuals who were not spotted by the intelligence services... and their limited or even non-existent contacts with identified jihadist networks," a source in the French anti-terror prosecutors' office told AFP. Anti-terror prosecutors still see signs of operational coordination, including "networks of false documents and funding," the source said.

In Search of Retribution

Jean-Charles Brisard, head of the France-based Centre for the Analysis of Terrorism (CAT), told AFP he did not rule out a new targeted action by IS, pointing to recent attacks foiled in Europe. "The next cycle will be that of those who are leaving jail," he said. The CAT has established that 60 percent of prisoners in France convicted over their actions in past conflicts in Bosnia, Iraq or Afghanistan reoffended violently after their release.

Zone of Terror

A French security source, who asked not to be named, said West Africa is a particular concern after France's forces deployed in the region in June killed the head of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdelmalek Droukdel. "I find it more likely that AQIM will conduct a revenge attack against French forces or other French targets in Africa -- including North and West Africa -- than in France itself," said Jones. "It is easier for the group to operate in Africa."