PARIS (AP) — The Islamic State group has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks, deploying interlocking terror cells like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris with orders to choose the time, place and method for maximum chaos, officials have told The Associated Press.
The network of agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq.
The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, described camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly the former Soviet bloc where attackers are trained to target the West. Before being killed in a police raid, the ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks claimed he had entered Europe in a multinational group of 90 fighters, who scattered "more or less everywhere."
But the biggest break yet in the Paris attacks investigation — the arrest on Friday of fugitive Salah Abdeslam — did not thwart the multipronged attack just four days later on the Belgian capital's airport and subway system that left 31 people dead and an estimated 270 wounded. READ MORE
Featured Image: Belgian flags flying at half-mast at the city hall in Rotterdam on March 23, 2016, a day after coordinated bomb attacks in Brussels left 31 dead and 270 injured. Authorities on March 23 named two suicide bombers who struck Brussels as brothers linked to the prime suspect in the Paris attacks, as a manhunt for a third assailant in Belgium's bloodiest terror assault gathered pace. / AFP / ANP / Lex van Lieshout / Netherlands OUT (Photo credit: LEX VAN LIESHOUT/AFP/Getty Images)