Europol’s European Counter Terrorism Centre has warned that Islamic State (ISIS) could have adopted new tactics to unleash terror in the west after being forced to lose ground in Middle East nations like Syria and Iraq.
The countries have waged a war against the militant group, with support from a US-led coalition group, with Iraq’s Mosul at the centre of the ongoing battle.
In a report, titled “Changes in Modus Operandi of IS revisited” published on Friday, 2 December, the centre also highlighted the threats IS (Daesh) poses to the European Union and how the bloc members can prepare for future terror attacks.
In the recent past, there have been several Isis-inspired as well as Isis-directed attacks in European nations like Germany, France and Belgium, where either one person or groups of people caused heavy damage to life and property. The report warned that further such attacks are possible, mainly targeting members of the US-led coalition which is fighting against Isis in Iraq and Syria.
“Estimates from some intelligence services indicate several dozen people directed by IS may be currently present in Europe with a capability to commit terrorist attacks,” the report noted.
In the event that Isis is defeated and thrown out of Syria or Iraq, the group could start operating from Libya, the report warned, adding that foreign fighters coming back to their countries from the defeated warzones could equally pose a risk to the EU.
“Modus operandi employed in Syria and Iraq, such as the use of car bombs, extortion and kidnappings may be employed as methods of attack in the EU,” the report further said.
It also pointed out the risks of radicalisation among the migrant population that has spread to different parts of Europe.
“We have to be vigilant, since the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State and returning foreign fighters is likely to persist in the coming years. These people are trained to use explosives and firearms and they have been indoctrinated by the jihadist ideology,” Gilles de Kerchove, EU counter-terrorism coordinator, said.
Europol’s Director Rob Wainwright said recent attacks have triggered “an intensified cooperation between police and security services across the continent” leading to many arrests.
“This shows that the increased cooperation and exchange of data between all relevant services across Europe is a successful means to mitigate the threat posed by IS. Nevertheless today’s report shows that the threat is still high and includes diverse components which can be only tackled by even better collaboration,” he added.