By Robert Norton

A Dutch intelligence expert has told the Associated Press that the Islamic State extremist group has planted between 60 and 80 operatives in Europe to carry out attacks. Dick Schoof, the Dutch counterterrorism coordinator, said would-be fighters are also heeding messages from the militant group “asking them not to come to Syria and Iraq, but to prepare attacks in Europe.”

One result, he told the Associated Press, is that over the last six months the number of “foreign terrorist fighters” hasn’t grown. The fact that they’re not traveling does not mean the threat they pose has diminished, however. Instead, military operations to oust the Islamic State from its self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq have scattered ISIS’ fighters and supporters, Schoof said.

This will probably lead to a gradual increase of refugees that will pose a danger to the national security of the Netherlands and other European countries, Schoof added. There are probably between 4,000 and 5,000 European “foreign terrorist fighters” in Iraq and Syria, he told the Associated Press. Schoof was in New York to speak at a roundtable on “returning foreign terrorist fighters.” READ MORE