According to reports, documents left behind by jihadis in Syria reveal plans to attack Europe using fighters who are already embedded.
ISIS is plotting further attacks in Europe just as it’s caliphate has fallen in Syria, according to reports.
US-backed forces yesterday declared the capture of Islamic State’s last territory in Syria, but the jihadists remain a threat from sleeper cells around the world
The Sunday Times reports it has seen documents from jihadis which show the intent to plan more atrocities in Europe by supporting members already there in so-called “crocodile” cells.
The paper believes the term describes ISIS members who are hiding just below the surface, presumably ready to strike.
The documents are said to be included on a hard drive, left behind during a battle between the terrorists and local forces in February.
The Times quotes one letter from a senior militant which states: “Before they carry out the operations, they will send us the targets if the connection is secure.
“And by the will of God we will meet all of their needs for those who want it.”
ISIS took large swathes of Iraq and Syria from 2014, imposing a reign of terror with public beheadings and attacks by supporters abroad – but it was eventually beaten back to the village of Baghouz.
Syrian Democratic Forces fighters, who besieged Baghouz for weeks while planes pounded from above, paraded on Saturday in memory of 11,000 comrades killed in years of fighting against the terror group.
But despite the euphoria, some shooting and mortar fire continued on Saturday morning, according to a Reuters journalist at Baghouz.
And jihadists in Afghanistan, Nigeria and elsewhere show no sign of recanting allegiance, and intelligence services say ISIS devotees in the West might plot new attacks.
“While this is a critical milestone in the fight against ISIS, we understand our work is far from complete,” acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said in a statement.
The capture of Baghouz marked a big moment in Syria’s eight-year war, wiping out one of the main contestants’ territory, with the rest split between President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey-backed rebels and the Kurdish-led SDF.
Islamic State originated as an al Qaeda faction in Iraq, but took advantage of Syria’s civil war to seize land there and split from the global jihadist organisation.
In 2014, it grabbed Iraq’s Mosul, erased the border with Syria and called on supporters worldwide to join a jihadist utopia, complete with currency, flag and passports.
Oil production, extortion and stolen antiquities financed its agenda, which included slaughtering some minorities, slave auctions of captured women, grotesque punishments for minor crimes, and the choreographed killing of hostages.
Those horrors drew an array of forces against it, driving it from Mosul and the Syrian city Raqqa during a year of heavy defeats in 2017 and driving it down the Euphrates to Baghouz.
Over the past two months, some 60,000 people poured out, fleeing SDF bombardment and a shortage of food so severe that some were reduced to cooking grass.
Intense air strikes levelled entire districts and, according to rights groups, killed many civilians.
Civilians made up more than half the people leaving Baghouz, the SDF said, including women from the Iraqi Yazidi sect whom the jihadists sexually enslaved.
Thousands of the group’s unbending supporters, including many foreign women who married jihadists, also abandoned the enclave.