THE HAGUE - The number of terrorist attacks recorded in the European Union last year dropped 21.2 percent to 249 compared with the previous year, the Europol police organisation said Tuesday.
"In 2010, 249 terrorist attacks were reported in nine member states," killing seven people, it said in an annual report on terrorism within the 27-member bloc.
Most of these attacks, 160, were carried out by separatist groups and only three by Islamic groups, it added.
Europol explained the drop in attacks by a "significant" decrease in those attributed to the Basque separatist group ETA, mainly in Spain.
Spain and France are the two EU countries most affected by "terrorist attacks", mostly by separatist groups, with 90 and 84 respectively.
"Although the number of attacks executed by separatist terrorist groups has decreased the threat from these and other groups remains substantial," Europol chief Rob Wainwright said in a statement.
A terrorist attack is defined as aimed "to intimidate populations, compel states to comply with the perpetrators demands and/or destabilise the fundamental political, constitutional, economical or social structures of a country or international organization."
The number of people questioned over terrorism-related crimes also fell two percent to 611, including 179 linked to "Islamic terrorism", Europol said.