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European Police Created Unit To Combat ISIS’ Twitter Terrorists

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Erica Wenig Contributor

Europol will create a unit designed to combat jihadi propaganda online, according to an agency announcement Wednesday.

The European police force said the 15-man unit will uncover and dismantle extremist social media accounts, The New York Times reports. The size of the unit will gradually expand over the upcoming year.

Known as the European Union Internet Referral Unit, officers will investigate online messaging by supports of Islamic State or other radical organizations attempting to recruit foreigners. The number of Islamic State Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts are estimated in the tens of thousands, according to the NYT.

Europol, based in The Hague, said extremists have a “sophisticated understanding of how social networks operate,” and they use this knowledge to “glorify acts of terrorism.”

Three separate terrorist attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia last Friday highlight the need for an aggressive campaign against radical messaging.

There are about 20,000 foreigner from 90 countries fighting alongside terror groups like Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra. About 4,000 are from Western countries, according to The New York Times.

In March, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said an estimated 180 Americans have left to fight with jihadi groups in Syria and about 40 have returned home.

A 17 year-old Virginia boy admitted to running a pro-Islamic State Twitter account and helping a young friend join jihadis in Syria last month. (RELATED: New Details On Virginia Teen Turned ISIS Recruiter: ‘We Were Hipsters. We Liked ISIS Before It Was Popular’)

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