Brussels – Europe has received new warnings of the risk of the return of ISIS militants and the threat they could pose on Europe’s security in addition to the fears of new terrorist attacks targeting innocent civilians in different ways with signs of an increasing flow of militants from areas of conflict, especially in Syria and Iraq, to EU countries.
Europe will have to come to grips with an exodus of “dangerous and disillusioned” ISIS militants, defeated in Syria and Iraq earlier this year and possibly seeking revenge, Jean-Paul Laborde, the head of the UN Security Council’s counterterrorism agency, has warned.
Speaking to reporters following meetings with EU officials, Laborde said several European countries estimate that the rates of militants returning from conflict zones has increased by one-third over the past year.
Scores of foreign ISIS militants, determined to come back to Europe, are “more dangerous” than previous waves of returnees, Laborde told reporters on Thursday.
“Some may be eager to seek revenge after defeats on the battlefield, including in recent confrontations in Mosul.”
Threat levels in Western Europe are high following a spate of deadly attacks that killed dozens over the past two years, with many nations concerned about their ability to guard their borders.
Based on estimates compiled from governments, the UN says 40 to 50 percent of some 30,000 foreign fighters, not all of them from Europe, have already left territories controlled by ISIS.
“On average, these people are much more committed, more experienced and more skilled,” he told reporters.
“In spite of the travel restrictions, still you will have a number of foreign terrorist militants, which will probably slip through the borders and go back, come back to these countries, especially with smuggling networks,” he added.