Up To 20 Terrorist ‘Sleeper Cells’ Ready To Strike In Europe, Islamic State Expands Caliphate; Setting Sites On Afghanistan And Pakistan
CNN is reporting that “there could be as many as 20 sleeper cells of between 120-180 people [jihadists], ready to strike in France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands,” citing Western intelligence sources. “Imminent threats were identified in Belgium and the Netherlands,” according to the network.
Citing a “senior counterterrorism source in Belgium,” the website Newsmax, “terrorists who were involved with Belgian police on Friday, — have links to terror cells throughout Europe. Two of the suspects killed by Belgian police are believed to have [previously fought/trained] with ISIS ‘forces’ in Syria.
ISIS Doubles Size Of Territory It Controls — Despite 800 Coalition Airstrikes
Flora Drury, writing on this evening’s DailyMailOnline website, observes that “ISIS has almost doubled the [area] of land it controls in Syria, since the U.S.-led airstrikes hitting ISIS targets began there last summer.” Indeed, Ms. Drury writes that “the group continues to expand its ‘caliphate,’ despite more than 800 coalition airstrikes hitting in ISIS-controlled” areas of the country. According to a map provided by the Coalition for a Democratic Syria (CDS) has expanded its control over an area of Syria that is one-third larger than this last summer. But more importantly,” the number of people who live under ISIS ‘control,’ has also increased substantially,” according to CDS. If true, this of course will provide the group with additional funding, as they no doubt are confiscating anything of value; and/or, are imposing heavy taxes,
Islamic State Setting Sites On Pakistan And Afghanistan
Meanwhile, The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that “disenchanted extremists from the Taliban and other organizations, impressed by the Islamic State group’s territorial gains and slick — online propaganda — have begun raising the black flag in extremist dominated [or jihadist friendly] sections of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In Pakistan, a recently released online video, purportedly shows Islamic militants beheading a man while pledging their allegiance to the Islamic State. In Afghanistan, there have been reports of militant rivalries, with clashes erupting between the Taliban and Islamic State militants,” according to the AP.
According to a senior Western diplomat, “it could be that young Afghans look to the more extreme tactics and the great glitzy publicity of the Islamic State. They might find it attractive, or the Taliban might find the need to compete; and therefore, become a bit more extreme — and, start carrying out horrific acts — they way you see the Islamic State doing.” In Afghanistan’s southern Helmand Province, residents say a former Taliban commander named Mullah Abdul Rauf…has begun recruiting fighters for the Islamic State group,” the AP noted.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said last November that “there was no Islamic State presence in Pakistan; — only militants using its name — but, a government letter written in October; and, later obtained by the AP — “warns local officials that the Islamic State group has begun courting area militants — and, that the extremists claim the support of up to “12,000 followers,” in northwest Pakistan.
The Pak Institute for Peace Studies, an Islamabad-based organization tracking militant groups, also recently issued a report calling the Islamic State a “real and emerging threat for Pakistan. It has created a major survival challenge for the main militant actors, — who could now act to prove their operational credentials.”
And of course, Pakistan has nuclear weapons. V/R, RCP