Thursday, April 21, 2016 - 14:23
Security service warns of radicalized men bringing ISIS war to Netherlands
Threats to the Netherlands from the jihadist corner is "more complex and difficult than ever before", according to general intelligence service AIVD's annual report for 2015. There are people in the Netherlands who want to travel to fight alongside ISIS, but are unable to, so instead they may want to carry out attacks in the Netherlands. The attacks in Brussels and Paris last year show that terrorist organizations are capable of carrying out complex and well-executed attacks. The AIVD divides the jihadists currently in the Netherlands into three groups. Firstly, jihadists that went to fight in Syria or Iraq, gained combat experienced and returned, likely traumatized. The second group consists of those who wanted to go fight for ISIS in the Syrian civil war, but were prevented from leaving the Netherlands. This group may be frustrated by their lack of success and turn to carrying out attacks in the Netherlands instead. The third group consists of jihadists that have never been to Syria or Iraq and do not intend to travel there, but may be willing to carry out attacks at home. There are ongoing investigations into acute threats to the Netherlands. One of these investigations showed that jihadists in the Netherlands are searching fro weapons. "It is not always clear what primary purpose the weapons are sought fore", according to the service. "Weapons in the hands of jihadists will not necessarily be used for terrorist attacks, but given examples in Canada, the United States and France, the risk of this is real." The rivalry between ISIS and Al-Qaeda further increases the threat to the West, including the Netherlands, the AIVD writes, especially after the ISIS-claimed attacks in Brussels and Paris. "For al-Qaeda it is important to commit such an attack in the foreseeable future to regain lost prestige." The AIVD is also paying close attention to the large influx of asylum seekers in the terrorism investigations. According to the service, they investigated several reports last year, but found no evidence of terrorist organizations sneaking people in among asylum seekers. Earlier this week a man was arrested in the asylum center in Echt on suspicion of recruiting for the jihad. Last year the number of Dutch jihadists killed "doubled" compared to the about 20 killed in 2014. By the end of 2015 a total of about 230 people left from the Netherlands to Syria or Iraq with jihadi intentions. Of them about 150 were still in those countries, including nearly 70 woman. There are also at least 70 Dutch children in Iraq and Syria, a third of them were born there. The majority of Dutch jihadists joined ISIS, a small group joined Jabhat al-Nursa. The AIVD also warned that ISIS is getting "more professional" in cyber attacks.