More than 100 individuals in the UK have been convicted for terrorist plots influenced by Syrian and Iraqi terrorist organizations since 2014, the BBC revealed.
This number is rapidly increasing, even though 85 percent of those convicted had never traveled to either country.
This is because those planning to join terrorist organizations in Syria or Iraq were arrested before executing their plan.
“We need to be acutely aware,” Director of Public Prosecution Allison Saunders told the BBC. “If people can’t go to Syria… they may plan some sort of attack here or they may do more to radicalize other people here.”
“We have certainly seen this in some of the cases we have prosecuted,” she warned.
Of the 109 extremists convicted, 18 (16 percent) were women and girls. Married couples have been arrested, even a mother of six. The youngest jihadi from the UK convicted of planning a terrorist attack in Australia in 2015, was 14.
This issue persists, especially as the internet, available at the touch of a finger, is commonly used to recruit jihadists and spread extremist propaganda.
Prime Minister Sam Gyimah acknowledged this advantage, and said on BBC’s Radio 4 Today Programme that the internet is a “key front in the fight against Islamist terrorism”.
This warning comes with a bit of justified uneasiness. At the beginning of Ramadan last month, the Islamic State posted a video on YouTube encouraging their followers to carry out attacks wherever they reside. The Telegraph reported that the video, titled “Where are the lions of war?”, urged “Muslim brothers in Europe who can’t reach the Islamic State lands [to] attack [non-Muslims] in their homes… markets… roads and… forums.”
“Do not despise the work,” the group reassured. “Your targeting of the so-called innocents and civilians is beloved by us and the most effective.”
“So go forth and may you get a great reward or martyrdom in Ramadan.”
But the Ministry of Justice announced that the most dangerous extremists have been moved to what is reportedly, a “prison within a prison.”
Nonetheless, the newly discovered information indicates a clear “changing nature of the threat,” Prime Minister Sam Gyimah indicated in his radio interview.
“IS is discouraging people from traveling over to the caliphate to help fight there and is encouraging them to perform jihad locally,” he said.