- More than 50,000 jihadists are now living in Europe. — Gilles de Kerchove, EU Counterterrorism Coordinator.
- Europol, the European police office, has identified at least 30,000 active jihadist websites, but EU legislation no longer requires internet service providers to collect and preserve metadata — including data on the location of jihadists — from their customers due to privacy concerns. De Kerchove said this was hindering the ability of police to identify and deter jihadists.
German authorities are hunting for dozens of members of one of the most violent jihadist groups in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, but who, according to Der Spiegel, entered Germany disguised as refugees.
The men, all former members of Liwa Owais al-Qorani, a rebel group destroyed by the Islamic State in 2014, are believed to have massacred hundreds of Syrians, both soldiers and civilians.
German police have reportedly identified around 25 of the jihadists and apprehended some of them, but dozens more are believed to be hiding in cities and towns across Germany.
In all, more than 400 migrants who entered Germany as asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016 are now being investigated for being members of Middle Eastern jihadists groups, according to the Federal Criminal Police (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA).
The revelation comes amid new warnings that jihadists are posing as migrants and arriving from North Africa on boats across the Mediterranean and onto Italian shores. In an interview with The Times, Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj said that jihadists who had been able to pass undetected into his country were almost certainly making their way into Europe.
“When migrants reach Europe they will move freely,” said al-Sarraj, referring to the open borders within the European Union. “If, God forbid, there are terrorist elements among the migrants, any incident will affect all of the EU.”