EU dreads return of European militant recruits

Islamic Extremism

The EU’s counter-terrorism chief said Europe has failed to stem the flow of foreign fighters joining ISIL in Iraq and Syria. More than 3000 EU citizens are believed to have joined the terrorist cause. It has security officials worried about potential terror attacks once they return. CCTV America’s Sandra Gathmann reported this story from Brussels.

Despite fresh pledges from politicians to tackle an exodus of Europeans joining Islamic State militants stopping them altogether has proven difficult.

“We have not been able so far to stem the flow of foreign fighters from Europe to Syria and Iraq. It’s still a serious problem, and therefore my call to ministers is to speed up the implementation of measures they have adopted, it takes time, but we have to do it more quickly. We really have to stem the flow,” Giles De Kerchove, EU Counter-terrorism Chief said.

So far, more than three thousand Europeans from countries like the UK and France have been recruited or volunteered to join ISIL and numbers appear to be climbing.

Some European countries like Belgium are reportedly seeing less fighters flock to Iraq and Syria to join the jihadist movement, but others like Germany, are still seeing significant outflows.

A recent video posted on social media by three French Islamic State fighters beckons the help of their countrymen to join them in what’s increasingly being sold as a “last chance” to participate.

“This is a message from your French brothers who have made Hijra, to the Muslims who are still living in the land of Kufr(disbelief). What are you waiting for Why do you not perform Hijra,” a man identified as Abu Osama Al-Faranci said in the video.

“It’s packaged as a kind of eschatological conflict and the end times, the day of judgment is coming and therefore it becomes imperative to participate in this let me just mention that for example IS have a magazine called “Dabiq” – which is where the final apocalypse will occur in a battle between Muslims and non-Muslims,” Magnus Ranstorp from Radicalization awareness network said.

U.S-led air strikes are continuing to destroy Islamic State strongholds but have so far not scared off fighters.

“I’m surprised I haven’t seen a real boom in the return of Jihadists the air strikes I would have thought were a deterrent,” Kerchove said.

The focus now is to get Turkey to help cut off travel routes to Syria and coordinate intelligence across the EU to track those making their way back who may pose a security threat.