European security Europol deploys 200 counterterrorism officers to Greece

European security Europol deploys 200 counterterrorism officers to Greece to thwart ISIS infiltration

Published 29 August 2016    Homeland Security News Wire

Rob Wainwright, the chief of Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, said that 200 counter terrorism officers will be deployed to the Greek islands within weeks in an effort to thwart a “strategic”-level campaign by ISIS to infiltrate terrorists into Europe. The new task force will be deployed alongside Greek border guards and use technologies developed by British security forces at Heathrow to help spot potential terrorists.

Rob Wainwright, the chief of Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, said that 200 counter terrorism officers will be deployed to the Greek islands within weeks in an effort to thwart a “strategic”-level campaign byISIS to infiltrate terrorists into Europe.

The new task force will be deployed alongside Greek border guards and use technologies developed by British security forces at Heathrow to help spot potential terrorists.

“We have, in the past year and a half, seen a strategic decision by Isil to do that and carryout spectacular attacks of the type we saw in France in Brussels,” he told the Evening Standard.

“There will be further attempts at that kind of activity,” he added.

The Express reports that the new deployment, which Europol originally announced in May, comes against the backdrop of a growing concern aboutISIS’s attempts to exploit the flow of refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East.

Europol said that last week its officials discovered several forged passports in a Greek refugee camp which officers believe were intended for use byISIS operatives.

European security agencies are also worried that more foreign fighters will be trying to return home as ISIS comes under increasing pressures in Syria and Iraq.

Wainwright said the counterterrorism operatives will be deployed on rotation to Greece and possibly Italy in the coming weeks.

“There will be a second line of defense. We hope to deploy some into the camps where the refugees, the asylum seekers, are being held,” Wainwright said.

The European Organization for Migration estimates 270,576 refugees have entered Europe by sea between 1 January and 24 August, most of them through Greece and Italy.

Some 3,165 have died, or have been reported missing, in the Mediterranean during this 8-month period.

Security concerns increased this week after it emerged a rescue boat operating in the southern Mediterranean had been shot at and boarded by armed men.

Europol facilitates cooperation among EU national police forces against organized crime and terrorism. Wainwright, a former MI5 intelligence analyst, has been the director of the agency since 2009.

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