Canadian Government Outlines Growing Islamic Terrorist Threat
The Canadian government has warned that roughly 60 “extremist travelers” have returned to Canada; it did so in a new report outlining major threats from terrorist organizations including the Islamic State and Hezbollah.
The report states that “a violent act of terrorism could occur in Canada,” corroborating similar assertions from some US officials who have warned about Islamic State operatives and sympathizers residing in the US.
“Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, more than 36,500 extremist travelers from over 100 countries, including at least 6,600 individuals from Western countries, have travelled to Syria,” the report said.
The few that returned to North America pose a major threat to both Canada and the United States.
Since 2002, the Canadian government has charged more than 40 people with terrorism-related offenses — 16 of whom were charged since January 2015. One of the suspects “maintained contact with terrorists in Iran and Afghanistan while working to recruit other men and raise money to finance a proposed attack [in Canada],” the report said.
The suspect returned to Canada with the motivation and expertise to finance and train a terrorist cell in the country’s capital, Ottawa.
While the Islamic State remains the primary focus of Canadian counterterrorism officials, the government report also refers to the Iranian sponsored Hezbollah as “one of the world’s most capable terrorist groups,” and a “threat to Canadian interests.”
According to the report, “Hizballah has networks around the world, including in Canada, and uses the networks for recruitment, fundraising and procurement.”
Unlike the Canadian government, the Obama Administration has not released data concerning the estimated number of Islamic State affiliated individuals in the US.
Click here to read the full report from the Canadian government.
Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.