INTERPOL has warned that soon to be released ISIS supporters who have been imprisoned in Europe, could lead to a resurgence in power for the terrorist group.
Speaking to the Germany national daily newspaper, Die Welt, INTERPOL secretary-general Jürgen Stock said, “We could soon be facing a second wave of other ISIS-linked or radicalized individuals that you might call ISIS 2.0,” Stock added, “A lot of these are suspected terrorists or those who are linked to terrorist groups as supporters who were sentenced to maybe only two to five years in jail.”
He said when they are released, and you couple that with jihadists who have been coming home from fighting in the Middle East, we could have a Europe that is primed for a potential new wave of radical Islamic terrorism.
Short Sentences May Lead to Long-Term Problems
Many ISIS supporters in Europe were rounded up and jailed years ago, but Stock said because those jail terms were not so lengthy, their impending release poses a real danger.
“Because they were not convicted of a concrete terrorist attack but only support for terrorist activities, their sentences are perhaps not so heavy,” he noted. “This generation of early supporters will be released in the next couple of years, and they may again be part of a terrorist group or those supporting terrorist activities.”
Stock is not alone in his concerns. The INTERPOL head’s warning follows that of France’s Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet, who said earlier this year that nearly 450 radical Islamic extremists were set for release from French prisons by the end of 2019, with at least 50 of them who are considered to be a “major terrorist risk.”
Ms. Belloubet claimed that the French state would be monitoring the activities of the prisoners upon release and many, if not all, are likely on the terror watch list, known as the S-File. However, there are thousands of suspected terrorists on the S-file list, including those who were responsible for the recent terror attack in Strasbourg — so, merely being on the watch list is no guarantee of protection.
A lack of manpower could be a primary reason why such known bad actors still slip through the cracks to conduct their heinous deeds. According to Yves Trotignon, a former agent of the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE), “intelligence officials simply do not have the resources to keep track of all 25,000 or so S-file members.”