ISIS has trained 400 fighters to attack Europe. The network of interlocking, agile and semi-autonomous cells discovered by authorities unveils the group’s effort to reach Europe.
European and Iraqi officials and a French lawmaker claimed that the network’s purpose was to train for attacks against western interests. They said that attackers are trained at camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly the former Soviet bloc.
Daily Star reports that the fighters were commanded to execute the mission at right time and place.
The network surfaced after the barbaric attacks at Brussels’ airport and metro station, which claimed 31 lives and injured 270 others. The group claimed that “the secret cells of soldiers” were aimed for bloodshed in Brussels.
The ringleader of November’s Paris attacks is believed to have entered Europe with a group of 90 jihadists, who later scattered to different locations. Salah Abdeslam, one of most wanted suspect in the attacks, was caught and detained last week. After the Paris attacks, he is suspected of establishing a secret network in the neighbourhood of Molenbeek, where several terrorist attacks were plotted.
“Not only did he [Salah Abdeslam] drop out of sight, but he did so to organise another attack, with accomplices everywhere. With suicide belts.Two attacks organised just like in Paris. And his arrest, since they knew he was going to talk, it was a response: ‘So what if he was arrested? We’ll show you that it doesn’t change a thing” said French Senator Nathalie Goblet in a report by Pantagraph.
“The reality is that if we knew exactly how many there were, it wouldn’t be happening,” she added.
Express, on the other hand, reports that around 400-600 Islamic State militants were trained solely for external attacks.
In 2014, EU’s anti-terrorism chief reported that more than 3,000 Europeans joined ISIS in Syria and Islamic state. In 2015, RT reported that around 6,000 of Europeans had joined the ISIS in Syria and of these are 1,450 militants who are French citizens.