UK at risk of terror after Daesh supporters back home: Police chief
The London police chief has warned that Britons fighting alongside the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group in Syria and Iraq are on their way back home and will become an increasing threat to the country.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, said on Friday that the battle-hardened militants who had left Britain to fight with the Takfiri group had been “brutalized and militarized”, adding that they were expected to return home as the terrorist group had lost ground.
“We are now seeing Daesh’s sphere of influence being reduced in Syria and Iraq, and it looks as though it’s clear that they will lose and the other side will win,” he said. “Some of those people are going to come home and that’s the threat that’s hanging there.”
Howe said the returnees include a “small army” of Britons who would put more pressure on Britain’s counter-terrorism police and security services upon their arrival.
“They are the ones that we most have to worry about and it’s hard to predict when,” he noted.
The London police chief also warned that Daesh was continuing to lure more recruits from the European countries.
British authorities say that at least 800 UK nationals have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside various Takfiri groups, regarding them as potential security threats upon returning to the country.
Last February, the European Union’s criminal intelligence agency Europol said up to 5,000 trained members of Daesh were at large in Europe, adding that some 30,000 militants from over 100 countries have reportedly traveled to Syria and Iraq since 2011 to join the ranks of Takfiri terrorist groups.
Daesh terrorists are mainly operating in Syria and its eastern neighbor, Iraq.