The European Union’s police chief warned Saturday that as many as 5,000 trained jihadist terrorists are operating in Europe and new attacks are likely.
Rob Wainwright, the chief of Europol (the EU’s police agency), warned that “Europe is currently facing the highest terror threat in more than 10 years.”
“We can expect ISIL [Islamic State, or ISIS] or other religious terror groups to stage an attack somewhere in Europe with the aim of achieving mass casualties among the civilian population,” said Wainwright to Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung, a German newspaper.
He claimed that the new threat “presents EU member states with completely new challenges.”
Despite the remarkable number, Wainwright was quick to assert that “there is no concrete evidence terrorists are systematically using the flow of refugees to infiltrate Europe.”
His comments followed a confirmation from Austrian prosecutors in December that two men being held for alleged involvement in November’s terrorist attack on Paris entered Europe posing as refugees.
Currently, there are nearly 1.3 million refugees claiming asylum in the EU. Syrians make up the majority of those seeking refuge, while Afghans make up a distant second. The German government has said that refugees residing in Germany will leave after the wars in their countries are over, however, an Afghan official countered that statement saying only those who leave voluntarily will be taken by Afghanistan.
Germany’s Bild newspaper reported on Wednesday that refugees committed over 200,000 crimes between 2014 and 2015, representing an overall increase of 79 percent in crimes committed by refugees.
A video featuring the last will and testaments of the Paris attackers surfaced in January. It featured each attacker making a statement and executing a prisoner, either through gun shots to the head or by beheading. Portions of the video also feature the attackers engaging in weapons training in what appears to be ISIS-held territory in Syria or Iraq.
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