It's hard to say where and when the so-called Islamic State group could strike again, with threats of attacks in countries from Malaysia to Morocco so frequent and so wide-ranging. Now, a group of experts has warned that Europe remains a likely target, based on intelligence assessments that ISIS, as the group is also known, "has the willingness and capability to carry out further attacks in Europe," Rob Wainwright, chief of Europol, said Monday in Amsterdam.
“All national authorities are working to prevent that from happening,” Wainwright said, the Wall Street Journal reported. A new report by the continental police agency suggested the terror group itself, or individuals it had inspired, would attack again "somewhere in Europe," with a particular risk in France. “Intelligence suggests that IS has developed an external action command trained for special forces-style attacks in the international environment,” the report said, with the ability to select "what to attack, where, when and how ... at will, at any time and at almost any chosen target."
Following the Nov. 13 massacres in Paris for which ISIS claimed responsibility, Europol in January launched the European Counter Terrorism Center. Ard van der Steur, minister of security and justice of the Netherlands, which is currently the president of the Council of the European Union, described the center as a "central information hub" to improve coordination and information sharing among European countries "to fight against organized crime and terrorism."
"Europe is currently facing the most significant terrorist threat in over 10 years," a press release from Europol said Monday, adding, "More attacks in the EU may happen in the future."
The agency added that the current refugee influx to the continent is not concretely linked to the growing risk of attacks from ISIS fighters, foreign or otherwise. The Europol report had found no evidence that “that terrorist travelers systematically use the flow of refugees to enter Europe unnoticed,” the Independent of London reported.