The huge challenge facing European goverments: the return of IS fighters to their home country.
The army of the Caliphate has collapsed. However, its defeated soldiers are still seeking to enter Europe. It is estimated that more than 30,000 foreign fighters joined the self-declared Islamic State (IS). Many fighters have already left the Caliphate through the border between Turkey and Syria to join jihadists groups in Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and other North African countries. But a substantial number of individuals primarily those who hold European passports returned to Europe or are on the point of doing so. Authorities consider the return of some of the 6,000 European fighters as a major threat. More specifically, a recent report by the European Commission underlined that about 2,500 IS jihadists are expected to return to Europe. And this is not a virtual threat. Every week brings news of further arrests in France, the UK, Belgium or Germany of individuals who were preparing to commit terrorism acts. To date, we have among the detainees nearly 2,900 radicalised individuals in British prisons, nearly 1,500 in France or more than 450 in Belgium. It must also be recognised that the rehabilitation programmes have failed. Of course, these indoctrinated individuals will be released at the end of their sentence. And it will be extremely difficult to monitor their deeds and actions. Now, how many foreign fighters returning to Europe have the intention of planning terrorist attacks? It is impossible to answer this question. But what we know for sure is that many security intelligence services share a common objective: use all means to prevent the return of the most radicalised individuals to their home countries.