There are many more Islamic jihadis than authorities like to admit, as they like to pretend that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, and to ignore and downplay the appeal that the Islamic State has for so many young Muslims in the West. Certainly the Islamic State is trying to overwhelm law enforcement agencies by the sheer volume of jihad plots they have to deal with; but the agencies make themselves more vulnerable by denying the motivating ideology of jihad terror and pretending that its causes are other than what they are.
“Train attack shows impossibility of tracking all Islamic militants,” AFP, August 22, 2015:
PARIS (AFP) – The thwarted attack by a gunman on a high-speed train between Amsterdam and Paris has underlined the difficulty faced by intelligence services in tracking the unprecedented numbers of potential Islamic militants, experts say.
The Moroccan suspect in Friday’s incident, identified as 25-year-old Ayoub El Khazzani, was first flagged by Spanish authorities as a potential extremist and had reportedly travelled to Syria.
He was overpowered by two US servicemen and other passengers before he could kill anyone in the train.
A Spanish counter-terrorism source said Khazzani had lived in Spain from 2007 to March 2014, before travelling to Syria from France.
In a timely interview published on the same day as the attack, Alain Grignard, a senior member of Belgium’s counter-terrorism police unit, said the terrorist threat has “never been higher in all the years I’ve been working”.
“It boils down to mathematics and it’s all linked to the Syria dynamic,” Grignard told CTC Sentinel, the in-house journal of the US military academy at West Point.
“There’s no way of knowing the exact numbers but I can tell you with certainty that at least 300 have travelled – that’s the number we have sufficient evidence to bring charges against. At least 100 have returned to Belgium, but we are under no illusions that there aren’t more we don’t know about. It’s impossible to do surveillance on everybody.”
It’s a point driven home by terrorism expert Raffaello Pantucci, of the Royal United Services Institute in London.
“The authorities know about a lot of people but not which ones will actually launch an attack,” he said.
“It’s a very resource-intensive job. You need three shifts with several people, and equipment and vehicles, to watch someone 24 hours a day. Intelligence agencies just aren’t big enough to do that for everyone.”…