At least 800 Islamist extremists are ready to launch attacks in Europe after returning from Iraq and Syria, intelligence services warn
Jihadis poised for order from ISIS and Al Qaeda to strike on the Continent
Source: ‘They are not well trained, but they are prepared to do anything’
Around 350 Britons have also returned, with some planning attacks in UK
High-speed train terrorist is believed to be an ‘Islamist returner’ from Syria
Around 800 jihadists have returned to Europe to launch attacks after being trained by extremists in Iraq and Syria, intelligence services have warned.
Counter-terrorism officers said the fanatics had been recruited by the Islamic State or Al Qaeda-linked groups and were waiting for the order to strike on the Continent.
Around half of the 700 Britons who have travelled to fight in the Middle East have also returned, with some believed to be planning attacks in the UK.
Poised to strike: Around 800 jihadists have returned to Europe to launch attacks after being trained by the Islamic State (above) or Al Qaeda-linked groups in Iraq and Syria, intelligence services have warned
The warning comes after the Moroccan gunman who stormed a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris was said to be an ‘Islamist returner’ who had spent time in Syria.
Ayoub El Khazzani, 25, is believed to have been given instructions by a terrorist network to commit an atrocity, but was overpowered by six passengers, including three Americans and a British grandfather.
Officials didn’t disclose a possible motive for the attack, but Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Spanish authorities had notified French intelligence about the suspect because he belongs to a ‘radical Islamist movement.’
Counter-terrorism sources in Spain said 800 Islamist extremists had returned to Europe to carry out similar strikes, it was reported by Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, according to The Times.
‘Part of a network’: The warning comes after the Moroccan gunman Ayoub El Khazzani (above) who stormed a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris was said to be an ‘Islamist returner’ who had spent time in Syria
Some were being tracked, but others had dropped off the radar.
The source said: ‘These people are not well trained, but they are poised and prepared to do anything. Once they have been indoctrinated, they receive the minimum training.’
A Spanish counter-terrorism source said Khazzani had lived in Spain for seven years until 2014.
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