TEHRAN (defapress)- Europe should brace itself for a new wave of terrorist attacks when Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) supporters serving short sentences begin to emerge from jail in a few years, the head of Interpol warned.
News ID: 74457
Publish Date: 20December 2018 - 15:39
The next big terrorist threat in Europe could come from Daesh supporters currently in prison for minor terrorism-related crimes, Interpol Secretary-General Jurgen Stock told the Anglo-American Press Association, as cited by The Guardian.
As they leave jail in the coming years, their radical beliefs are likely to trigger a relapse.
“In many parts of the world, in Europe but also Asia, this generation of early supporters will be released in the next couple of years, and they may again be part of a terrorist group or those supporting terrorist activities,” Stock said, estimating that the average jailed jihadist is serving a sentence of between two and five years.
“We could soon be facing a second wave of other Islamic State-linked or radicalized individuals that you might call ISIS 2.0,” he added.
Possible members of ISIL sleeper cells aside, there is an ongoing threat of returning terrorists fleeing Iraq and Syria since the demise of the Islamic State. Those disenchanted fighters with nothing to lose have become a major issue for local law enforcement.
“The security agencies are concerned about when they are coming back because most of them are battle hardened, they are trained, and they are internationally connected,” Stock said, noting that going to Syria and Iraq in the first place “was a huge opportunity to network on an international level”.
“These contacts still exist and we shouldn’t forget that,” he added.
It’s a guessing game as to where the retreating jihadists are going to flee when they’re squeezed out of Syria and Iraq. One of the probable destinations is Southeast Asia or Africa, where there are still terrorist hotbeds. Another option for the jihadists is to keep a low profile and try to sneak back into Europe.
“With ISIS defeated geographically, these individuals will either try to move to other areas of conflict in Southeast Asia, or Africa, or remain in Europe to carry out attacks,” Stock stressed.
Interpol has some 45,000 suspected foreign fighters in its database but it’s a Sisyphean task for local police to track them down, as many have perished on the battlefield, some are holed up in Syria or Iraq, and the whereabouts of many others is unknown.