Thursday, November 19, 2015

Paris Attacks Highlight Jihadists’ Easy Path Between Europe and ISIS Territory

By KATRIN BENNHOLD, NYT
NOV. 18, 2015

LONDON — One of the militants in the Paris attacks traveled to Syria from his hometown in France and back, officials said, even after his passport had been confiscated and he had been placed under judicial oversight. So did another, despite having been arrested eight times in petty crimes and having been listed as a national security risk in France.

Even the man suspected of organizing the massacre on Friday, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a well-known figure in the Belgian jihadist scene, is believed to have traveled between Islamic State-controlled territory and Europe a number of times — including for an attack plot in Belgium in January.

The Paris attacks, the deadliest in France to date, have sharpened the focus on the inability of security services to monitor the large and growing number of young European Muslims who have fought alongside the Islamic State or to spot terrorist plots in their early stages, even when the participants are well known to them.

It appears so far that as many as six of the assailants who killed 129 people with guns, grenades and suicide bombs at six sites last Friday were Europeans who had traveled to Syria and returned to carry out attacks at home — precisely the nightmare scenario security officials have been warning about for the past two years.

(More here.)

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