Barcelona, Spain. Sixteen people died and more than 120 were injured in the attacks. They were claimed by the Islamic State group. The investigation into last month’s attacks in Spain is becoming increasingly international. Among the focus of authorities are plane tickets to Brussels, a lightning trip to Paris and an itinerant imam who went from trafficking people and drugs to secretly preaching jihad to young Muslims in northeastern Spain.
There is a “real risk” of increased funding for attacks in Europe as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) loses ground in Iraq and Syria, the European Union’s security chief warned on Sept. 7.
ISIL has lost an estimated 90 percent of its territory in Iraq. At one time, the group held around half of Syria but today controls just 15 percent, according to estimates.
“As we have success against Daesh on the ground in Iraq and Syria, they are moving funds out of Iraq and Syria,” Julian King told the civil liberties committee in the European Parliament, using another name for ISIL.
“There is a real risk of a new influx of funding for terrorism. We need to be conscious of that and we need to work together to see what we can do about it,” he added.
Last month, a U.N. report said that ISIL was continuing to send remittances abroad — often small sums, making them difficult to detect — as part of a bid to step up its international efforts “as demonstrated by the higher pace of attacks in Europe.”
The report said funding sources were still based on oil profits and the imposition of taxes on local populations in the areas under its control.
However, it said the financial situation of the ISIL “core continues to deteriorate,” mainly due to military pressure on the group.
In the last two or three years, EU member states have been hit by an increasing number of attacks claimed by ISIL which have taken place in Spain, Britain, France, Belgium, and Germany.
King said the EU is also stepping up efforts to “respond to the unprecedented scale and speed of radicalisation that we now face in our societies,” including online and offline.