Dutch Islamists becoming elusive 'swarm' - spy service

2014-06-30 13:13
Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant marching in Raqqa, Syria. (AP Photo/Militant Website, File)

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant marching in Raqqa, Syria. (AP Photo/Militant Website, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Amsterdam - Radical Islamist groups in the Netherlands have become a decentralised and elusive "swarm" that may broaden their focus from the conflict in Syria to the wider Middle East, the Dutch intelligence service warned on Monday.

Its report reflects widespread concern in Europe at the threat posed by European citizens - mainly from an Islamic immigrant milieu - leaving to fight in Middle East conflicts and returning battle-hardened and posing a security threat.

Dutch authorities estimate that 120 Dutch citizens have so far left to fight in Syria's civil war, but said that a larger movement of radical Muslims in the Netherlands had several hundred adherents and thousands of sympathisers.

The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Agency (AIVD) said in its latest assessment of the threat posed by underground jihadist groups that they were stronger and more self-confident.

The agency said the phenomenon was becoming ever harder to track as social media made it possible for increasingly "professionalised" radical movements to co-ordinate themselves without the need for a centralised authority.

"The movement has taken on the character of a swarm," the agency said. "There is a less hierarchical structure than at the turn of the millennium, which makes it more flexible, effective and less vulnerable to 'attack' from outside."

Teenagers

The Netherlands has banned recruiting for militant groups and is also weighing legal measures to prevent its nationals from joining foreign insurgencies.

An 18-year-old man was recently arrested in The Hague on suspicion of recruiting people to take part in the Syrian conflict, and some 30 people suspected of planning to do so have had their passport seized, the government's anti-terrorism co-ordinator said in a letter to parliament on Monday.

European governments have struggled to stop their nationals, some just teenagers, from travelling to Syria where the conflict, which began as peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad and evolved into an armed rebellion now in its fourth year. More than 160 000 people have been killed.

But the AIVD warned that radicals in the Netherlands might turn their attention towards fighting in other current or potential Middle East conflict zones.

"For now, Dutch jihadis are heavily focused on Syria, but that could change," its report said. "It could involve existing conflict zones likes Yemen and Iraq, but even potential new zones like Egypt - including Sinai, or Libya."

Would-be fighters in Middle East conflicts are growing more skilled at evading the attention of authorities, buying return tickets to the region and posing as tourists, it said.

"News from conflict zones in Syria is spread rapidly via chat, Facebook and email within hours or even in real time within a jihadi inner circle in the Netherlands," said the report. It added that the number of jihadist publications in Dutch had increased sharply over the past two years.

The French citizen suspected of shooting dead four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May spent time fighting in Syria. Earlier this month, German intelligence said some 2 000 Europeans had gone to Syria to fight alongside Islamist rebels.
Read more on:    netherlands
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
26 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

 
 

Men24.com

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Enjoy the view because as from tomorrow you are going to need to come back down to earth and join the party. In the meantime use...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.