Ireland Many of the 30 Irish jihadi fighters in Syria and Iraq are dead - senior garda

19:04  16 may  2018
19:04  16 may  2018 Source:   independent.ie

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THIRTY jihadi fighters are using Ireland as a base while travelling regularly to conflict zones in Syria and Iraq , according to Garda intelligence. But senior officers admit they cannot assess the extent of the jihaidists’ involvement in the fighting when they enter the strife-stricken countries.

He said many of the Irish foreign fighters were not considered potential terrorists: “They go abroad for many reasons. Ireland being used as transit hub for Jihadis heading for Iraq and Syria . Last year, the Counter Terrorism International (CTI) unit was established in the Garda Crime and Security

Assistant Garda Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan. Picture: Mark Condren © Provided by Irish Independent Assistant Garda Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan. Picture: Mark Condren MOST of the Irish jihadi terror sympathisers, who left here to join foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, have not come home.

The senior garda officer in charge of national security and intelligence said today that many of the estimated 30 Irish fighters were now believed to be dead.

Others are missing and some may have headed to other "theatres of war".

But Garda assistant commissioner Michael O'Sullivan said few had returned to this country.

He said the families of foreign fighters, who had witnessed atrocities in Syria and Iraq, posed a bigger challenge for the authorities here on their return.

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According to media reports, Garda and Military Intelligence are monitoring between 30 and 60 potential Islamist fighters both in the Irish state and Irish citizens fighting abroad in Syria and Iraq .[291][292].

He appears in an Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (henceforth the Islamic State) video Four deaths of Irish foreign fighters have been reported in Syria , including that of a 16 year-old boy. 58. Most of the French foreign fighters who went to Syria were between 20 and 30 years old.

This was more a social welfare and educational problem than security challenge as efforts were being made to integrate them back into the community.

Image grab taken from video uploaded on YouTube on August 23, 2013 allegedly shows a member of a jihadist group affiliated to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, holding up the trademark black and white Islamist flag at an undisclosed location © Provided by AFP Image grab taken from video uploaded on YouTube on August 23, 2013 allegedly shows a member of a jihadist group affiliated to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, holding up the trademark black and white Islamist flag at an undisclosed location Mr O'Sullivan confirmed that a "small number" of jihadi suspects continued to be monitored by gardaí as persons of interest and he said his force worked closely with the Defence Forces and with overseas agencies, such as MI5, and took their advice in setting up measures and infrastructures to prevent terror attacks here.

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Though there is no independent reporting of the fighting making the conflicting claims hard to asses, Jihadi fighters – both those fighting for ISIS and those fighting for Al-Qaeda – are known to have used civilians as human shields and to have prevented civilians from leaving war zones in Syria and

Interactive: the 23 British jihadis killed in Syria and Iraq . Fri 24 Oct 2014 08.54 BST Last modified on Thu 30 Nov 2017 06.40 GMT. Earlier in the conflict many dead fighters were eulogised as anti-Assad “heroes” in pictures or in videos, but this practice appears to have tailed off.

He was speaking at the opening of the 46th Interpol European regional conference in Santry, Dublin.

Mr O' Sullivan said it was estimated there were currently 2,000 foreign fighters left in the theatre of war, which was diminishing and decreasing in size.

"There is concern internationally in relation to where they may go next. At the moment there isn’t real evidence that they are returning to Europe including Ireland.

"We have a small number that we believe are still alive in Syria and Iraq.  They may go to other theatres of war in the Philippines, in the horn of Africa, North Africa.

"Also of concern to us certainly would be families returning and that is a concern for a lot of jurisdictions and these may have been families not involved directly in the war but whose children, particularly young males may have witnessed some of the most appalling crimes known to man", the assistant commissioner added.

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Foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria are expected to flee in the coming months. Updated: 2nd June 2017, 9: 30 am . GARDAI are secretly preparing for the return of Irish nationals who travelled to fight with Islamic militants, we can reveal.

Irish intelligence officers closely watching 30 jihadi fighters travelling to Iraq and Syria .

"They will return and they will become a challenge for a multi agency effort".

Jihadist Jihadist He pointed out that there had been a "blurring of lines" between terrorism and organised crime, both at home and internationally.

He said there was evidence that some of the terror attacks in Belgium, Paris and at London Bridge, had been facilitated by people with criminal records.

Mr O'Sullivan reckoned that a lone wolf attack was probably the greatest area of concern for police throughout Europe.

He said gardaí were also conscious of that although the 60-strong Muslim community here was very genuine and law abiding and ethnic liaison officers in the force worked closely with that community.

Mr O'Sullivan also estimated that the gardaí were now much better positioned to respond to a terror attack than they were four years ago.

An exercise carried out a week after the London Bridge attack, using Temple Bar as the target area, showed they could have armed units at the scene within three minutes of an attack using the GPS locations of such units in the capital at the time.

Gardaí had also responded within four minutes to a real-life knife attack in O'Connell Street and within five minutes to an incident involving what was thought at the time to be a firearm on a Dart in a train station in south Dublin.

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Pictured: Man (33) fatally stabbed after early morning altercation .
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