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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

ISIL training fighters to launch attacks on Europe

Would-be suicide bombers are being trained up to attack Westerners

The attackers who killed 90 people at the French theatre, the Bataclan, were trained by Isis in Syria before they returned to Europe. Ian Langsdon / EPA
The attackers who killed 90 people at the French theatre, the Bataclan, were trained by Isis in Syria before they returned to Europe. Ian Langsdon / EPA

An ISIL brigade in Syria are training Europeans to attack their home countries.

The unit trained the men responsible for the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks and are training up a group of would-be suicide bombers.

The group, known as the al-Kharsa brigade, are subjected to a gruelling training programme at a secret camp in Syria before being sent home to carry out attacks. The brigade also encourage and remotely instruct would-be suicide attackers who are unable to travel to the caliphate.

Once their training is complete, members of al-Kharsa are taken into ­Turkey at the Bab al-Hawa crossing. From there, they receive fake passports and disperse across Europe.

Speaking to the UK newspaper The Sunday Times, a captured ISIL fighter said, “It takes seven months to be trained in al-Kharsa brigade.

“It is very hard. Every European who crosses the border to Syria, they are offered [the opportunity] to join. If 20 start the training, only five finish it. Then after that they go back to Europe and attack.”

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The prisoner, who lived for 2½ years in the ­caliphate, believes around 50 Isis members went through the programme. They came from countries including Germany, France, Belgium and Britain.

At least 21 Isis-trained operatives are thought to have sneaked back into Europe as of last year, according to a report from The New York Times.

The group learn how to construct bombs, endure harsh physical tests and are immersed in ISIL ideology.

They recently unsuccessfully targeted Britain and remain functional, according to the fighter.

Anti-terrorism officials from America and Europe have previously confirme­d the existence of an Isis externa­l operations unit that is thought to have organised the Paris and Brussels attacks.

The captive confirmed that the route funnelling fighters to Europe was still in operation in February this year, despite the caliphate ­having suffered heavy ­territorial losses under assault from Iraqi troops and the American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

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