Mayors discuss jihad fighters

Mayors of eight Dutch and three Belgian cities are going to come together on Tuesday evening for a summit about jihad fighters after the report that threats of a rising number of returned fighters on European soil warned of possible attacks in the future, the AD reports. 

According to the paper, there is an estimate of 750 people. The national counter-terrorism coordinator (NCTV) will also be in attendance at a secret location.

Mayors from Den Haag, Zoetermeer, Delft, Leiden, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and one other unknown city's mayor will be at the summit, along with the mayor of Antwerp and two other Belgian cities.

The summit will discuss plans and tactics to counter the rising number of Syria fighters returning to European soil. According to the AD, around a quarter of the estimated 3000 jihadists who traveled to Syria are back. Dutch secret service AIVD boss Rob Bertholee told the AD that this amounts to around 750 individuals.

The AIVD emphasizes the importance of keeping taps on the returned jihad fighters. "The Schengen countries are an open area, where no border controls occur for people", Bertholee says. "Your terrorist is my terrorist."

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Minister Ivo Opstelten and State Secretary Fred Teeven of Security and Justice will discuss with their European colleagues about possible measures to be taken to bring the growing network of Syria fighters into closer view.

"As soon as someone enters a Schengen country, a beep must go off. Beep Syria-goer", says Dick Schoof of the NCTV. According to the AD, The Netherlands has agreed to participate in an information sharing measure in which travel details, including bookings, are given out for security purposes.

Dick Schoof says that the advantage will be that travel information will be given out before the trip is taken. "So you have more time to decide what you want to do." Critics say this plan will not work, and that it will only create a false sense of security.