The Dutch intelligence service AVID has warned that returning Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists could carry out attacks in Europe, to compensate for territorial losses in both Iraq and Syria.
Dutch intelligence also said on Wednesday that the small number of ISIS returnees from Syria and Iraq could recruit new ISIS supporters and establish residential cells.
More than 280 Dutch citizens are believed to have joined jihadi organizations in Syria and Iraq. However, many Dutch jihadists have died on the Middle East’s battlefields and more will likely be killed as the proto-Caliphate hemorrhages.
Since October 16, Iraqi security forces have been engaged in an operation to liberate the city of Mosul. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are concurrently fighting to isolate Raqqa –the Islamic State’s de facto capital.
In 2016, the number of Dutch citizens that joined jihadist groups decreased significantly. Of the remaining trickle that made their way to the Middle East, the overwhelming majority joined ISIS and Tahrir al-Sham, an al-Qaeda affiliate.
According to AVID, one-third of the Dutch jihadists are women and roughly fifty percent of them were born in the region. The spy agency clarified that since “children in ISIS-territories receive arms and weapons training since their 9th year, they are considered by the AIVD as jihadists.”
50 Dutch jihadists have returned to the Netherlands so far and roughly one third of the returnees are women. One woman who returned to the Netherlands after surrendering herself to the Kurdish Peshmerga is suspected of planning attacks in Holland.
“The current territorial losses of ISIS increases the risk of attacks in the West, because the group needs to prove itself through threats and attacks against the West,” the Dutch intelligence service said.
AIVD pointed to the “ repeated calls by ISIS to its supporters to carry out attacks in the West,” reasoning that ISIS wants to use “these attacks to show strength and to deter its enemies and impress existing members and get new recruits.”
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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