The attacks seemed to come one after another: 130 dead on the floor of the Bataclan concert hall and on the streets of Paris. Eighty-six mowed down on Nice’s historic promenade. Twenty-two people, many of them teenage girls, killed at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Since the lightning rise of the Islamic State in 2014, law enforcement has scrambled to stop an endless array of plots. It is only now, more than four years after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his caliphate, that the cadence has finally slowed.
Islamic State attacks in the West fell steeply in 2018 compared with the previous four years, the first time the number has fallen since 2014. But the number of attempted attacks remained steady, suggesting that the group remains committed to carrying out catastrophic harm.