The Islamic State (ISIS) is smuggling fighters into Europe by telling them to shave their beards and disguise themselves as refugees before boarding human trafficking boats to Italy. Such jihadists are considered ‘prize operatives’ because they can travel undetected around Europe – and to Britain.
UK Daily Mail (h/t Maria J) ISIS is also funding terrorism by taxing the people smugglers. The extremists make £60,000 per boat of refugees who attempt the journey, it is claimed. Based on the number who crossed the Mediterranean last year – around 219,000 – IS could be making millions each year from the crisis.
The group is thought to be forcing families in refugee camps on the borders of Lebanon and Jordan to flee to Libya, and ordering the traffickers to hand over half their profits. The migrants are forced to join IS or take a seven-day Sharia law course before traveling to Europe.
‘They use the boats for their people who they want to send to Europe as the European police don’t know who is from ISIS and who is a refugee or not.
‘The boat owners have a list of who to take but some people come suddenly out of the list and they’re told, “Take them with you” … they come alone and in the boat they are not scared at all. They are for ISIS, 100 per cent.’
UK Daily Mail Flouting their terror credentials, with Rome’s Colosseum as the backdrop, ISIS supporters have posted photos purporting to show they are already in Europe and counting down ‘till the zero hour’.
The alarming images, published on Twitter, have emerged as Libyan intelligence claims that the Islamic State are exploiting the Mediterranean refugee emergency to send its fighters into the heart of Europe.
ISIS have made frightening inroads into Libya in recent months taking control of several cities including Sirte, Gaddafi’s birthplace. Having executed dozens of Christians in several breathtakingly bloodthirsty attacks on the shores of the Mediterranean they then pointed their sabres toward Europe.
There have been growing fears that militants would take advantage of tens of thousands of migrants surging across the Mediterranean to send operatives to Europe. Now it appears -they have already arrived.
The threatening photos apparently taken at landmarks and train stations in Italy show a piece of paper displaying the Islamic state logo and messages such as ‘Islamic State in Rome. We are in your streets.’
One ominous post was accompanied by the Arabic for ‘#Islamic State in Rome. Now is observing and locating for the target. Waiting for the zero hour.’ Some of the pictures show venues in Milan, including the city’s cathedral and the venues of the Expo exhibition in several others.
Police vehicles in the background of many of the pictures seem intended to further underline the would-be terrorists’ boldness.
It is not the first time that the jihadist group have identified Rome, the home of Christianity, as a symbolic target. Previously the Islamic militants’ own magazine published a mock-up of the black flag of ISIS flying over St Peter’s square on the front page of their propaganda magazine Dabiq.
The pictures have emerged as the Libyan government warned that ISIS terrorists are on their way to Europe hidden amongst refugees.
Minister of Information Omar al Gawari of the Tobruk elected government told Italian news agency ANSA: ‘In the next few weeks Italy will see the arrival of boats carrying not only poor immigrants from Africa but Daesh (IS).’ He appealed for an end to an arms embargo that would allow the Tobruk government to tackle human trafficking which he claimed was allowed by the rival Islamist government in Tripoli.
‘To combat terrorism the Libyans want the arms embargo lifted and they will pay with their own money to buy the necessary arms to restore peace and security in the country.’
While there are no plans to lift the arms embargo, the UK is expected to play a leading role in an EU naval operation against the trafficking organizations, at the same time striking a blow to one of the Islamic State’s most profitable funding mechanisms.
Abdul Basit Haroun an advisor to the Libyan government said the militant group was making millions from the trafficking trade while using it to smuggle their own men into Europe.
He told BBC Radio 5 live: ‘They give permission for the boat owner to use the spot under their control and they charge them for that 50/50 of whatever they make.
‘They use the boats for their people who they want to send to Europe as the European police don’t know who is from IS and who is a normal refugee or not.
EU border agency risk analysis for 2015 warned that with record numbers of migrants arriving resources are being used up covering their basic reception needs at the expense of security screening.
The report by Frontex said that foreign fighters who are not allowed to return home could use the trafficking networks’ boats to slip back into Europe.