The Israeli National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau has warned of the heightened probability of terror attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets as the High Holy Days approach, with special concern for Western Europe.
In a report released on Monday, Israeli security officials issued a severe terror alert for citizens warning of potential “attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets around the world, especially in Western Europe, by global jihad elements (including ISIS), specifically by fighters returning home from Syria and Iraq.”
The report noted the significant danger of western nationals currently fighting abroad for global jihadist groups returning to their home countries to commit terrorist attacks. It cited the example of Mehdi Nemmouche, the French-Algerian former ISIS fighter, who returned to Europe allegedly carried out a deadly shooting at the Brussels Jewish Museum, killing four people.
Nemmouche is said to have planned a larger terror attack to take place in Paris, targeting French President Francois Hollande, but was apprehended before he could carry it out.
Some 2,000 of ISIS’s fighters are thought to be westerners, and many have returned home already. British authorities have stated that approximately 500 citizens of the UK traveled abroad to fight for ISIS, and of these, about half have already returned home. Security officials have arrested forty of these.
The report further states: “The global terrorist campaign by Iran and Hezbollah continues to threaten Israeli and Jewish targets around the world, especially ‘soft’ targets, i.e. tourists and Jewish symbols (rabbis, community leaders, Chabad houses).”
The Bureau added threats against Jewish targets will increase from the eve of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) until the end of the festival of Sukkot.
In addition to western Europe, the report added that there is heightened danger in Egypt, Africa, Thailand, Jordan, and Turkey.