Juergen Stock (photo) cited this shift as an emerging trend at a U.N. Security Council meeting along with changing travel methods being used by foreign fighters seeking to join groups like ISIS and al-Qaida.
Stock was a keynote speaker at a meeting attended by half a dozen ministers including U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to assess progress in implementing a U.S.-sponsored resolution adopted last September requiring all countries to prevent the recruitment and transport of would-be foreign fighters preparing to join extremist groups.
Johnson said the United States will be developing a new passenger data-screening and analysis system within the next 12 months which will be made available to the international community at no cost for both commercial and government organizations to use.
In a report obtained by The Associated Press (AP) on April 1, the panel of experts monitoring U.N. sanctions against al-Qaida said the number of fighters leaving home to join al-Qaida and ISIS in Iraq, Syria and other countries has spiked to more than 25,000 from over 100 nations. The panel said its analysis indicated the number of “foreign terrorist fighters” worldwide increased by 71% between mid-2014 and March 2015.
The Security Council Counterterrorism Committee said Friday that it identified an initial 67 countries most affected by “foreign terrorist fighters,” examined what 21 countries have done to address the threat and found that only five required advanced information on airplane passengers. It said most engage in international cooperation and nearly all have taken steps to prohibit incitement to terrorism under their criminal laws but only 13 countries had criminalized the financing of terrorism.
Interpol's Stock urged the 193 U.N. member states to share more information, “and share it even better,” stressing that the international police organization database includes information from fewer than 100 countries and just over 4,000 names.
“Intelligence is crossing borders, but at a much slower pace than foreign terrorist fighters are,” he said.
Meanwhile, Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s Central Command, which oversees U.S. Forces in the Middle East, said on Friday that ISIS is not a significant threat in Saudi Arabia. He did not speculate on the Sunni militant group’s claim of responsibility for a deadly bombing at Shiite Muslim mosque.
Friday’s blast killed four people and was the second attack claimed by the Sunni militant group in a week in the world’s top oil-exporting country.
Source: AP; Reuters