A major terror attack on European soil is practically inevitable as Western powers ramp up their assault on Jihadist fighters in Iraq and Syria, the Guardian reported Friday, citing an unnamed senior EU official.
The official said Europe was scrambling to deal with the threat of hundreds and possibly thousands of Islamist fighters returning to the European Union from combat in Iraq and Syria with plans to carry out large-scale attacks in the union.
“It is pre-programmed,” the official told the newspaper. “We have clear signals that this is what the foreign fighters are doing. This is the main threat we are facing.”
He added that EU leaders were “very aware and very frightened of this” and currently did not have an effective strategy in place to deal with the threat. “They all fear this could be totally out of control. It may already be too late.”
Six weeks after he was declared dead, a Canadian in the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham resurfaced on video Thursday, vowing the terrorist group was preparing to bomb New York and fly its flag over the White House.
Interviewed from Iraq by the U.S. website Vice.com, Farah Mohamed Shirdon, a former Calgary movie theatre employee, appeared erratic and became increasingly enraged as he dished out threats and claimed God was on his side.
“God willing, we will make some attacks in New York soon, a lot of brothers are mobilizing there right now in the West, thanks to Allah,” he said. Smiling, he added they were “mobilizing for a brilliant attack, my friend.”
ISIS was conducting beheadings because “you attack one of us, we will attack one of you,” he said, adding, “We will stop when we behead the kuffar
He is one of several Somali-Canadians thought to have joined ISIS, prompting the Canadian Somali Congress’s Western branch to appeal for government help. A Hamilton, Ont. man presumed dead in ISIS was also a Somali-Canadian.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the White House had not confirmed any plan to attack the US and French subway systems. "We have not confirmed such a plot, and would have to review any information from our Iraqi partners before making further determinations," she said.
The New York City Police Department said it was aware of the prime minister's warning and in close contact with the FBI and other agencies to assess the threat.
The U.S. military is concerned by flights by long-range Russian bombers near U.S. airspace, a top U.S. commander said on Thursday, saying the Cold War-style activity was raising questions for Pentagon planners.
The remarks by Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of the U.S. military's Pacific Command, came after Russian Bear long-range bombers approached U.S. and Canadian airspace last week -- prompting both countries to scramble fighter jets to intercept them.
The United States and Russia are increasingly at odds over Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting for control of parts of the former Soviet state. The conflict has dragged relations with the West to their lowest levels since the Cold war.
Locklear said the Russian incursions into the United States' air defense identification zone (ADIZ), an area beyond sovereign U.S. airspace, was "basically kind of Cold War activity with long-range bombers."
"These are things that we have to be concerned about as military people. We have to think about them and what that would mean to the security of the region and the security of our own homeland."
The US is considering softening present demands that Iran gut its uranium enrichment program in favor of a new proposal that would allow Tehran to keep nearly half of the project intact while placing other constraints on its possible use as a path to nuclear weapons, diplomats told The Associated Press.
The initiative, revealed late Thursday, comes after months of nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers that have failed to substantially narrow differences over the future size and capacity of Tehran’s uranium enrichment program. Iran insists it does not want atomic arms but the West is only willing to lift nuclear-related sanctions if Tehran agrees to substantially shrink enrichment and other activities that Iran could turn toward making such weapons.
The fates of a reactor under construction near the city of Arak and of an underground enrichment facility at Fordo are also contentious issues. The US and its Western allies want the reactor converted to reduce to a minimum its production of plutonium, an alternate pathway to nuclear arms. And they insist that the Fordo plant be shuttered or used for something else than enrichment because it is fortified and thought to be impervious to air attacks.