Islamic State is likely to carry out more terrorist attacks in the EU, Europol warns, citing intelligence sources. Jihadists may resort to tactics that they use in Syria and Iraq, such as car bombs, extortion and kidnappings, according to a new report.
Intelligence sources suggest that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has “assembled teams in Syria” that are being sent to European Union countries to carry out attacks, the report, entitled “Changes in Modus Operandi of Islamic State Revisited,” from Europol’s European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC) warned on Friday.
Automatic firearms are the weapons of choice for terrorist cells, and easier access to them in countries neighboring the EU, particularly in Ukraine and Western Balkan countries, “may lead to a significant number of those weapons becoming available via the black market, posing a significant threat in the near future,” the report says.
There is evidence that IS has also shown an interest in using chemical and/or biological weapons, Europol noted.
“IS is known to have used sulphur mustard gas in Syria and is thought to be able to produce the gas itself. IS is believed to include people who were formerly engaged in Iraq’s weapons program and it is assumed that the group has access to Iraqi and Libyan storage sites of chemical weapons. In addition, there are indications that IS is experimenting with biological weapons,” the report says.
Counter terrorism experts are concerned that Libya could develop into a “second springboard for IS, after Syria, for attacks in the EU and the North African region,” Europol said.
“Terrorists acting in the name of IS are able to plan relatively complex attacks – including those on multiple targets – quickly and effectively,” the report said, adding that the scale and impact of lone actor attacks is also on the rise.
In addition to France and Belgium, all other EU member states that are part of the US-led coalition against Islamic State are “prone to be attacked by terrorists led or inspired by IS,” it warned.