Washington : The threat against Europe from the Islamic State (IS) militants is worse than the threat from Al Qaeda was in the late 1990s, a US expert has said.
“I think the situation in Europe is even more dire than what was happening with Al Qaeda in the 1990s,” Colin P. Clarke, an associate political scientist at the US think tank RAND Corporation, told Xinhua news agency.
IS was not only on the march in the Middle East by taking over large swaths of land in Iraq and Syria but had shown its teeth by launching a series of horrible terror attacks all over Europe.
In November, IS gunmen killed 130 victims in a vicious attack in Paris that made headlines worldwide.
And just last month, the IS struck again in Brussels, simultaneously setting off three nail bombs — bombs packed with nails that fly out at lighting speed and pierce through flesh — at an airport and metro station that killed more than 30 victims.
These terror attacks reminded people of the one launched by Al Qaeda, the terror group run by terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, against the US homeland on September 11, 2001 that killed about 3,000 people in New York and Washington DC.
US top intelligence official James Clapper said earlier this week that the Islamist radicals have cells in Britain, Germany and Italy.
He made the comments just after US President Barack Obama asked European leaders to step up their efforts and contribute more to the fight against IS.
Clapper has suggested that European cities such as London, Berlin or Rome could be next on the IS hit list as carrying out brutal attacks increases the group’s relevance and helps boost recruitment efforts.
“Then, Al Qaeda was using Europe as a staging ground to recruit, fundraise and build its media and logistical capabilities.
“The threat from IS today is … the group seeking to conduct spectacular attacks in major European cities like Paris and Brussels,” Clarke said.