The UK has the largest number of Islamist radicals in the EU, the EU counter-terrorism chief says, just as home-grown terrorists are found to pose the “predominant” threat. According to Gilles de Kerchove, the UK has identified between 20,000 and 35,000 fanatics. MI5 considers 3,000 of them “worrying,” and 500 are under “constant and special attention,” the chief said.
By comparison, France is thought to be home to 17,000 radicals, and Spain around 5,000. “I wouldn’t like to put a concrete figure on it, but (in Europe) tens of thousands, more than 50,000,” de Kerchove told Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “We must select those who are really worrying and the most dangerous, and they should be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
This comes as security sources told Sky News that the threat posed to the UK by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) jihadists returning home is not as severe as initially thought by police and intelligence services. On the other hand, there is an unprecedented terrorist threat from home-grown terrorists who have been encouraged or instructed to carry out attacks.