The counterterrorism coordinator for the Netherlands has estimated that the Islamic State (IS) extremist organization has between 60 and 80 operatives in place in Europe to prepare and execute terrorist attacks.
In an exclusive interview with AP on November 19, Dutch National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security Dick Schoof said IS has been telling supporters in Europe "not to come to Syria, but to prepare attacks in Europe."
He said that Europe has succeeded in reducing the number of would-be IS fighters traveling to the Middle East in recent years, but this "does not mean that the potential threat of those who would have traveled is diminished."
Moreover, he warned that successes in rooting out IS fighters in Iraq and Syria are scattering the militants all over the world.
He estimated that there are between 4,000 and 5,000 Europeans currently fighting with IS in those two countries.
Based on reporting by AP