BRUSSELS — After a summer of attacks that European authorities couldn’t tie directly to ISIS, French counterterrorism officials believe they have linked two would-be terrorists arrested in a Paris suburb last week directly to the militant organization.
The discovery of the link renews the conviction of intelligence professionals that as ISIS territory shrinks in Syria and Iraq, the group’s threat to Europe grows as thousands of European fighters potentially attempt to return home.
France and Belgium, scenes of the deadliest ISIS-inspired attacks in recent years, as well as Italy have taken steps to track returning extremists — and block their return whenever possible. French, Belgian, and Italian authorities privately admit that they have little interest in helping their citizens who joined ISIS return home.
“We are happy to let the Iraqi legal process handle crimes committed by any French citizens who joined Daesh,” said a French Ministry of Defense official, using Arabic slang for ISIS. “But ideally most of the worst will be handled on the battlefield.” – READ MORE