Islamist recruitment in West rising, warns Dutch counter-terrorism agency
Amsterdam, March 5: While the world is largely convinced that the Islamic State (IS) is on a retreat now after losing its footholds in West Asia, the Netherlands' counter-terrorism agency has cautioned that the outfit is continuing to recruit operatives and can launch attacks in the West "at a moment's notice".
The warning came in a report that was published last week by the Dutch National Coordinator of Counterterrorism and Security (Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding en Veiligheid or NCTV).
The agency was set up in 2005 as the Dutch National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and renamed in 2012. It functions under the Netherlands' justice and security minister and analyses terrorism threats and assesses the level of the country's domestic terrorism threat.
The NCTV has warned that it is not only the IS but also al-Qaeda which is highly active. The two outfits are riding a wave of Salafist Muslim extremism which is gaining foothold across Europe, the report added, as cited by InterNews.org.
The IS's recruitment is happening mostly through dissemination of online propaganda material and there is also a rise of underground recruitment movement in conservative Muslim schools and mosques in the West, the report said.
Returnees from IS a real threat, says document
The report also said the most dangerous short-term threat to Europe and North America came from the so-called returnees - citizens of European countries who joined the IS and are now returning or trying to return - to their home countries.
"The majority of these men and women remain faithful to the idea of the caliphate despite the failure of their efforts in the Middle East.
There is a risk that, upon their return to the West, they will connect with existing -and growing- Salafist underground networks there, and remain active in radical circles," InterlNews said in an article siting the Ducth counter-terrorism document.