Islamic State has between 60 and 80 operatives spread out across Europe to launch an attack, a Dutch counterterrorism coordinator claims.
Fewer foreign fighters are traveling to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS as the terrorist group is “asking them not to come to Syria and Iraq, but to prepare attacks in Europe,” Dutch intelligence official Dick Schoof told The Associated Press.
“We have seen 294 [Dutch] terrorist fighters go overseas in Iraq and Syria and there are still 190 over there,” Schoof said in a Saturday interview with the AP. “And what happened in France and Brussels and Germany could happen to us.”
Schoof warned that the threat of an attack could increase as ISIS loses control of its strongholds and supporters get more desperate.
Several thousand foreign fighters still remain in Syria and Iraq. Many of them of them are expected to seek a return home in the near future, which authorities fear will have a long-lasting impact.
“I think it will be a generation-long struggle that we face to absorb the return of thousands of foreign fighters, particularly to Western Europe,” Rob Wainwright, the director of the European Union’s police agency Europol said in a September interview with The Wall Street Journal.