Returning jihadists may pose threat to the security of the Netherlands

Returning jihadists may pose threat to the security of the Netherlands

Jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq may pose a threat to the security of the Netherlands. If the ISIS ‘caliphate’ collapses, the number of returnees is expected to rise gradually, and some of them will probably end up bolstering the jihadist movement in the Netherlands. Now that it has become more difficult to leave the country to join the 'caliphate', the movement may shift its focus to the Netherlands itself. These are some of the key points made in the 43rd edition of the Terrorist Threat Assessment for the Netherlands.

Jihadists living in the Netherlands could respond to the repeated calls by ISIS and al Qa’ida to commit terrorist violence in one’s own country. To further its aims, ISIS also targets vulnerable people who are easily influenced, as could be seen from last summer’s attacks in places like Germany and France.

Previously, ISIS sent dozens of operatives to Europe to carry out attacks or provide assistance to attackers. ISIS is determined to carry out attacks, particularly in Western Europe and especially now that it is under pressure militarily in Syria and Iraq. The threat posed by al Qa’ida also remains substantial.

The threat level in the Netherlands remains at 4 on a scale of 1 to 5. This means that the chance of an attack in the Netherlands is real, but that there are no specific indications that an attack is being prepared.

In addition to the threat posed by jihadists, there is also a risk of violence by the far right and far left, sparked by controversy surrounding issues like Islam, asylum seekers, integration, Europe and Turkey. More polarisation is conceivable in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in March 2017. During the election campaign there will also be a greater risk of an act of violence by a lone individual.