Europol expects Islamic State militants to step up attacks in European nations as they edge closer to defeat in Syria and Iraq.
A new report from the European police warns that “several dozen” attacks could be in the works as more foreign fighters return to their home countries. The threat of “lone actors” attempting car bombs, kidnappings and extortion are part of a new strategy by ISIS, according to the report. (RELATED: ISIS Still Has Up To 80 Operatives In Europe Ready To Attack, Official Claims)
More than 2,000 ISIS fighters from the European Union were still on the battlefields in Syria and Iraq as of October. Many of them are expected to make their way back when ISIS strongholds eventually fall.
“We have to be vigilant, since the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State and returning foreign fighters is likely to persist in the coming years,” Gilles de Kerchove, EU’s counter-terrorism coordinator, said in the report. “These people are trained to use explosives and firearms and they have been indoctrinated by the jihadist ideology.”
The U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning to Americans planning to visit Europe during the Christmas holidays. The State Department said “credible information” points to ISIS and al-Qaida planning attacks in coming weeks. Holiday festivals, events and outdoor markets are particularly sensitive areas this time of year, the travel warning said.
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