Hundreds of ISIS members could infiltrate Europe together with masses of refugees from Libya, Syria, and Iraq – ironically fleeing ISIS terror in their homelands, said Michele Coninsx, head of the EU's judicial cooperation agency Eurojust.
Speaking Monday in Brussels, Coninsx told reporters that the EU was working together with other countries to prevent the migration of ISIS terrorists. She declined to specify exactly what steps were being taken.
A video released last week by ISIS in Libya and published by the Arabic-language Asharq al-Awsat shows the two perpetrators of a deadly attack on the Corinthia Hotel in January threatening that ISIS's newly-established presence in the country would be used as a springboard to invade Europe.
Although ISIS – or the Islamic State, as it refers to itself – is mainly based in Syria and Iraq, affiliates have been active for some time in parts of northern Africa, particularly in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, where the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis jihadist group last year pledged its allegiance to ISIS's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But in May the Islamist terrorist group's presence in Libya hit headlines, when it broadcast the brutal mass-execution of 21 Coptic Christians, triggering reprisal air-raids from Egypt and a mass-exodus of Egyptian workers from the country.
But the presence of an active Libyan cell – where several Islamist militias pledged allegiance to the group back in late 2014 – is viewed as particularly worrying due to Libya's close proximity to Italy.
Already in March, a top Libyuan general was warning that ISIS could use Libya as a jumping-off point for a European invasion. General Khalifa Haftar, head of the Libyan army, warned that Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists running rampant in the north African state are set to infiltrate Europe and expand their reign of terror into the West. ISIS will "spread in even the European countries if (the West) does not offer real help to the Libyan people, especially the Libyan army," he told the Associated Press. He warned the ISIS terrorists "will head with the illegal migrants to Europe, where corruption and destruction will spread just like Libya. But there it will be hard to confront them."