The Islamic State terror group might have taken a beating in Iraq and Syria but it remains a global threat with up to $300 million in its coffers, U.N. counterterrorism officials warned Tuesday.
Europe has been targeted for specific threats given the large numbers of former fighters looking to join refugees who continue to flood across the E.U.’s open, porous borders.
“It capitalizes on its affiliates and inspired attacks and has an estimated residual wealth of up to three hundred million dollars at its disposal”, said Vladimir Voronkov Under-Secretary-General, Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), in his briefing on the threat Islamic State poses to international peace and security.
Moreover, “acute concerns” remain over foreign terrorist fighters, returnees and relocators heading to Europe, he continued, noting from the “initial estimate” of 40,000, between 24,000 and 30,000 have survived.
Counter-Terrorism Chief Voronkov & @UN_CTED brief UN Security Council on ISIL’s threat & reiterates UN’s commitment to supporting Member States countering the threat.
— United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (@UN_OCT) August 27, 2019
Voronkov said the Islamic State’s defeat in Syria “was not a fatal blow” and the group “continues to evolve into a covert network.”
“This follows the same pattern we have seen in Iraq since 2017, where ISIL insurgency activity reportedly designed to prevent normalization and reconstruction efforts continue”, he added.
In Europe, radicalization in prisons and those released from prison “remain major concerns” that compound the risk of “homegrown terrorism” at time when ISIL is having trouble sending fighters to the continent, according to Voronkov.
And despite military pressure, hundreds of thousands of Islamic State terrorists in Asia continue to pose a threat.
He recounted two worrying developments in South-East Asia, namely women playing a more active role in attacks and the explicit targeting of places of worship, “which may indicate a new trend”.