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More dangerous terrorists are finding their way to Europe

The head of the UN Security Council’s counterterrorism agency has warned that foreign ISIS fighters finding their way into Europe, could be “more dangerous” than previous waves of returnees.

Published: May 20, 2017, 10:54 am

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    Jean-Paul Laborde told reporters on Thursday, a thirst for revenge after defeats on the battlefield, including in recent battles in Mosul, may drive them to attack Europe.

    The first wave of returnees who went to Syria and Iraq were those who went “for T-shirts and photos,” but they came back “disillusioned and dismayed”, Laborde told RTBF. The second wave may be much more extremist since they had more time to weld with criminal organisations.

    Between 40 to 50 percent of foreign fighters, who left for Syria and Iraq, have already left territories controlled by ISIS, according to Laborde. “On average, these people are much more committed, more experienced and more skilled,” Reuters quoted Laborde.

    “In spite of the travel restrictions … still you will have a number of foreign terrorist fighters which will probably slip through the borders and go back, come back to these countries, especially with smuggling networks,” he added.

    He said several European countries believe the rate of fighters returning has increased by a third over the past year. Laborde told the BBC he did not know whether ISIS had the capacity to carry out a laptop bomb attack, but he was certain that organised criminal gangs could.

    Some 5 000 EU nationals are currently fighting in Syria among the ranks of ISIS and other jihadist groups, a senior Syrian official said last month.

    The British Quilliam research group found that “Groups such as Islamic State and Boko Haram recruit using financial incentives within refugee camps and work with smugglers and traffickers to facilitate the journey to asylum”.

    According to their report, ISIS is tuned to migrant routes in the Eastern Mediterranean and it offers free passage and “a degree of security” to those willing to join.

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