Fears in Europe of Possible Terrorist Attacks

Mourners light candles at the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, December 20, 2016, one day after a truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in the German capital. (PHOTO: REUTERS/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE)
Mourners light candles at the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, December 20, 2016, one day after a truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in the German capital. (PHOTO: REUTERS/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE)
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Fears in Europe of Possible Terrorist Attacks

Mourners light candles at the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, December 20, 2016, one day after a truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in the German capital. (PHOTO: REUTERS/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE)
Mourners light candles at the Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, December 20, 2016, one day after a truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in the German capital. (PHOTO: REUTERS/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE)

A recent report published by the Soufan Center — a Washington-based security intelligence consultancy group— warned of possible terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere, in the wake of the return, from Syria and Iraq, of at least 5,600 citizens or residents from 33 different countries, accounting for about 15 percent of the militants.

The report entitled, “Beyond the Caliphate: Foreign Fighters and the Threat of Returnees,” released this week by the Center, said that the return of militants represented a tremendous challenge to the security bodies in the respective countries, pointing out that more than 40 thousand foreigners have joined ISIS before and after the announcement of the formation of the alleged 'Caliphate' in June 2014, and that some of them would remain committed to “violent jihad”, as called for by ISIS and al-Qaeda.

The report highlighted problems facing women and children who had joined ISIS and presented an overview of the policies adopted by European governments regarding the return of foreign militants.

According to the report, Russia sent the largest number of European extremists to ISIS in Syria and Iraq (3,417), followed by France (1,910), Germany (900), Britain (425), Sweden (267), Spain (204) and Italy (110).

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Sheikh Nabil Naeem, a former leader of the Jihad group in Egypt, said that the returnees from ISIS to their countries are divided into two types: those who hate the experience they had with ISIS and are willing to re-integrate in the society, and those who cannot accept rehabilitation as they are strongly committed to their extremist ideology and could possibly form dormant terrorist cells in their homeland.

In January, European investigations and reports confirmed that ISIS had adopted a plan to return foreign militants to Europe after signing special forms including their intention to carry out operations in the Old Continent.

Observers stress that this was a “ticking bomb, which could explode at any time and anywhere in the world”.



Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
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Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)

Iran's supreme court has overturned Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi's death sentence on charges linked to the country's 2022-23 period of unrest, his lawyer wrote in a post on the X social media platform on Saturday.

"The death sentence of #Toomaj_Salehi was overturned and based on the appeal decision ...of the Supreme Court, the case will be referred to (another) branch for consideration," attorney Amir Raisian wrote on X.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the ruling.

Salehi's songs supported protests sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish Iranian woman arrested for allegedly wearing an "improper" hijab.