Ji­hadists tran­sit via Greece, Italy

Europol re­port says 5,000 Euro­pean-born Is­lamists have trav­eled to Syria, Iraq

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece, Turkey and Italy were the main tran­sit coun­tries in 2015 through which Euro­pean-born Is­lamists trav­eled to and from Syria and Iraq, ac­cord­ing to an an­nual re­port pub­lished yes­ter­day by Europol, the in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agency fight­ing or­ga­nized crime, traf­fick­ing and ter­ror­ism, which said last year saw a record num­ber of at­tacks across the Euro­pean Union.

An es­ti­mated 5,000 Euro­pean cit- izens have jour­neyed to Syria and Iraq to take part in Ji­had, the re­port said. Most reached ter­ri­to­ries un­der the con­trol of the so-called Is­lamic State (IS) via Turkey, the so-called Balkan axis and the sea route through Greece and Italy.

The agency said that since the dec­la­ra­tion of its “Caliphate” in June 2014 and un­til De­cem­ber 2015, IS has launched or in­spired 50 at­tacks in 18 coun­tries, killing 1,1,00 peo­ple and in­jur­ing 1,700. Most of the at­tacks were in the Mid­dle East and North Africa, while Al Qaeda ter­ror cells still re­main ac­tive in Syria, Iraq and else­where.

The re­port also raised alarm over the ma­jor risk of “lone wolf” ter­ror at­tacks in Europe.

In 2015, the EU was hit by 17 at­tacks or­ches­trated by Is­lamist ter­ror­ists – com­pared to four in 2014 – re­sult­ing in the death of 151 peo­ple and more than 350 in­jured.

More­over, out of the 1,077 ter­ror-re­lated ar­rests last year, 687 were linked to Is­lamic ter­ror groups. Most of the ar­rests in 2015 were made in France (441).

The Hague-based or­ga­ni­za­tion also noted a strong fe­male pres­ence among IS ter­ror­ists and high­lighted the ex­am­ple of the Nether­lands where 40 per­cent of rad­i­cal Is­lamists were known to be women.

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