Interpol has distributed a list of 173 Islamic State (IS) group fighters it believes might have been trained to launch suicide attacks in Europe.
The Interpol database was composed by US intelligence, drawing on information obtained during the fight against the IS group as territory from its so-called caliphate was recaptured in Syria and Iraq.
So far there is no evidence that any IS group fighters – the names of which The Guardian obtained – on the list have crossed into Europe.
However, the Interpol report – with the purpose of seeing if EU intelligence agencies have further information on the people mentioned – highlights the difficulty of the task Europe faces.
Interpol classifies the group of IS group combatants as people who “may have been trained to build and position improvised explosive devices in order to cause serious deaths and injuries. It is believed that they can travel internationally, to participate in terrorist activities".
US intelligence agencies originally collected the information – “through trusted channels”. They passed the material to the FBI, which in turn handed the list to Interpol, to be shared across countries.
A note added to the Interpol list circulated in Italy spells out the intelligence agencies’ method of composing it. They constructed the list by gathering lots of different forms of information, mostly obtained when allied forces took local IS group headquarters.
“The people,” the note says, “have been identified through materials found in the hiding places of Isil, the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant.” The note emphasises that “those subjects may have manifested willingness to commit a suicidal attack or martyrdom to support Islam”.
The database contains the suspects’ names, the date when they joined the IS group, their last probable address including the mosque where they have worshipped while fighting in the Middle East, their mother’s name and any photographs.
In 2015 a UN estimate put the figure of foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria at 20,000 – with 4,000 of these from Europe. However, until this point there has not been a list of fighters including those born in the Middle East, who have been noted as potential suicide bombers.
Date created : 2017-07-23