ISIS Plots More Attacks in Europe After Losing Syria

Published March 24th, 2019 - 07:10 GMT
(AFP/ File Photo)
(AFP/ File Photo)

ISIS terrorists are plotting kidnappings and suicide attacks in Europe after the group lost the last of its territory in Syria, it is claimed.

The ISIS fanatics are said to be setting up sleeper cells - so-called 'crocodile cells' - in Syria and the West to 'kill the enemies of God'.

According to letters written by the jihadists ISIS is aiming to recruit 'as many suicide bomber brothers as possible' and gather an arsenal of weapons.

The terror group's plans are revealed on a hard drive which was left behind during a battle in the Syrian desert, according to The Sunday Times.

ISIS was pushed out of its last holdout along the Euphrates river yesterday but the whereabouts of its leader remain unknown.

Among the proposals in the ISIS letters are a 'Department of Operations in Europe' and elsewhere.

The jihadists claim to have allies 'who want to work in areas far away from the Islamic State' and carry out attacks in Europe.

One letter to an ISIS leader reportedly reads: ' Every person who forms a threat to the Islamic State of to our Caliph or his deputy, you only need to send us his photo, the place he lives and his number.

'Then wait for us to send you the video of his killing, by the will of God.'

Practical planning is said to include providing suicide bombers and vehicles for kidnappings and reconnaissance.

ISIS has previously claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks in 2015 among other attacks in Europe and its supporters were linked to the wave of terror in the UK in 2017.

Security chiefs in Europe and the U.S. have warned that ISIS remains a threat, despite losing its grip on the last of its territory in Syria.

The group proclaimed a 'caliphate' in Syria and Iraq in 2014 but had been reduced to a holdout in Baghouz in eastern Syria in recent weeks as fleeing terrorists, women and children poured out of the camp.

Yesterday the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces declared a 'total elimination' in Baghouz after flushing out the last ISIS fanatics.

The terrorist group's bloody last stand saw male and female fanatics hiding in caves as US-backed forces rained down an overnight barrage on Thursday.

But experts and politicians warned that ISIS would remain an 'enormous threat'.

Dr Karin von Hippel, the former chief of staff to the special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to counter Islamic State, said the fall of the group was an 'important milestone'.

'It is the territorial defeat of ISIS , but they still are an enormous threat,' Dr von Hippel, director general of the Royal United Services Institute think tank, added.

'Many thousands of them will remain in Iraq and Syria and they will go underground, they will conduct asymmetric attacks - they are already doing so in both countries.'

The director of international security studies at RUSI, Raffaello Pantucci, also warned that the territorial defeat of IS was not the end, and the 'biggest danger' was stepping back.

'I think the danger is that we end up doing what happened in Iraq in 2009 - we just kind of left and left the whole place to its own devices,' he said.

'And essentially it didn't get better, the governance continued to be a problem and that is how the environment was created for the group to grow in to.'

The world's most wanted man Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who declared himself the tyrant of the regime in 2014, was apparently not among the last ISIS holdouts in Baghouz.

The 47-year-old Iraqi recluse, who suffers from diabetes, has been rumoured to have been wounded or killed several times in the past.

But his whereabouts have never been confirmed and a $25million price remains for his scalp.

Nicknamed 'The Ghost', he has not appeared in public since he delivered a sermon at Mosul's famed Al-Nuri mosque in 2014 declaring himself 'caliph'.

His last voice recording to his supporters was released in August, eight months after Iraq announced it had defeated IS and as US-backed forces closed in next door in Syria.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

You may also like


Sign up to our newsletter for exclusive updates and enhanced content