The European Union’s counter-terrorism coordinator warned recently (24 September) that the Al Qaeda terror group is quite likely to try to demonstrate its relevance by carrying out attacks aimed mainly at targets in Europe and the United States. It may be prompted to plan new wave of terror attacks in light of its wariness of being upstaged by even more ruthless Islamic State fighters who are currently conducting operations in parts of Iraq and Syria. Though the world’s attention now focused on Islamic State’s atrocities and advances in both Middle Eastern countries, the EU’s Gilles de Kerchove warned of the security implications for Europe stemming from a possible competition between the former and Al Qaeda, which has renounced its offshoot as too brutal.
While briefing a European Parliament committee on the latest security challenges facing the European Union, De Kerchove asserted that “It is possible that al Qaeda may want to mount attacks to show that the organization is still relevant, (that) they are still in the game.” He also warned that some militants had moved from the conflict-torn Afghanistan and Pakistan to Syria where they became a part of the Al Qaeda-linked Khorasan Group that has also been targeted, alongside Islamic State, by the U.S.-led air assault in Syria. American officials have announced a plan to try to destroy the Khorasan Group in attempt to disrupt an alleged plot against U.S. or European targets that the Pentagon said was “nearing the execution phase”. Further aggravating potential security implications of these developments for the EU is the fact that the Khorasan Group is reportedly planned to recruit some of the more than 3,000 Europeans who had travelled to Syria to fight and convince them to use their passports to return and launch terrorist attacks in Europe, the United States and Israel.