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Al-Qaida is investing heavily in recruiting Muslims in Europe, reports Geostrategy-Direct, the online intelligence newsletter.
Western intelligence sources say al-Qaida has been targeting Muslim communities in several European Union states. The focus is on pressing the children of Muslim immigrants to provide a range of support services.
One of al-Qaida’s largest strongholds is in the Netherlands, which could become the launching pad for al-Qaida attacks throughout Europe.
A report by Dutch AIVD intelligence service found that al-Qaida is already rooted in the country’s large Muslim community. Al-Qaida has recruited young Muslims in prisons, mosques and cafes throughout the Netherlands, the report by the domestic intelligence agency stated.
Targets of interest are believed to be Britain, France, Israel and the United States. The report did not rule out al-Qaida attacks in the Netherlands, with a Muslim community that numbers 850,000 out of a general population of 16 million.
“The recruitment of these youths shows that a violent strain of radical Islam is stealthily taking root in Dutch society,” the AIVD report said.
Most of the recruits were either born in Holland or arrived as children.
Western intelligence sources said France could be the first target of al-Qaida. Earlier this month, French authorities arrested several North African expatriates suspected of membership in the organization.
Belgium also has been penetrated by al-Qaida, the sources said. Recruiters are working among the country’s large Moroccan immigrant population in Antwerp and Brussels.
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