On multiple occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers have been notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding multiple international terrorism concerns. Most pressing are new threats being posed by Islamic State militants to the European mainland.
Following gains made by the Islamic State in Libya, multiple sources indicate the plan of the Islamic State is to use the embattled N. African state as a gateway to wage war across the whole of southern Europe. This past Sunday, within the well publicized video addressed to “the nation signed with the blood of the cross” showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on the Mediterranean shoreline (WARNING - GRAPHIC), there is footage of a khaki-clad militant pointing a blood-stained finger northwards, declaring: "We will conquer Rome."
The threat raised alarms with Italian authorities to such an extent that this week the Italian government deployed ~5000 soldiers around Rome and elsewhere in the country to protect sensitive sites.
Though not receiving much press coverage in America, Italy has a major illegal immigration problem in the form of boatloads of individuals, mostly male, arriving from the nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Turkey on a near daily basis. Looking at a map of the region will show that Sicily is just over 100 miles from the Tunisian coast and only about 300 miles from Libya.
While no one envisions a Normandy-style Islamic State invasion, the slow creep of radical Muslims into Italy, and Spain, and Greece poses significant security concerns due to the high potential for random terror attacks as are being experienced in a growing number of Western countries. Additionally, as the European economies continue to decline, thus creating greater hardship within Muslim communities already struggling with high unemployment and a refusal to assimilate into local cultures, there will be an increasingly larger number of European Muslims more easily persuaded to join the movement. In short, why travel to Iraq and Syria to wage jihad when you can wage jihad at home?
SIMILAR THREAT TO THE U.S.
There are also similar concerns for America. As AlertsUSA reported on multiple occasions last year, the Obama Administration is dramatically expanding the number of Syrian refugees allowed to resettle permanently in the United States from about 350 in 2014 to close to 10,000 this year and in years to come. There are significant concerns that this program will facilitate the import of jihadists into the homeland.
Last week, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Nicholas Rasmussen, told the House Homeland Security Committee that the Syrian refugees are "clearly a population of concern.” (VIDEO)
FEAR OF "FEDERALLY FUNDED JIHADI PIPLINE"
In the closing lines of his opening statement, the committee chairman, Rep. Mike McCaul states,
"I am very disappointed that the State Department chose not to send a witness here today. The threats we are discussing are serious, and the State Department plays a key role in combating them. I recently sent a letter to the White House expressing my concerns over the Department’s desire to resettle tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in the United States. I am worried ISIS could exploit this effort in order to deploy operatives to America via a federally funded jihadi pipeline."
EGYPTIAN INTEL HINTS OF POSSIBLE SPRING ATTACKS
There are reports that Egypt has intelligence revealing the Islamic State is planning a worldwide offensive this spring or summer that could reach targets within the United States. These reports indicate that ISIS members captured in recent weeks in the Sinai Peninsula have revealed plans for ground offensives and that ISIS is plotting possible attacks using cells abroad.
We also remind readers that just weeks ago, the head of the FBI Counterterrorism Division, Michael Steinbach, told CNN "there are already individuals in the U.S. that have been in communication with groups like [ISIS] who have a desire to conduct an attack,” and conceded the FBI finds it extremely difficult to track every American traveling abroad who can join ISIS or receive training by foreign terrorist organizations.
“I’m worried about individuals that we don’t know about that have training,” Steinbach said. “We know what we know. But there is a number that’s greater than that that we don’t know. Once you get to Europe, you can easily get down to Turkey and into Syria.”