ISIS is planning to use Libya as a “gateway” to Europe and has raised the possibility of storming southern European cities to cause “pandemonium” or closing international shipping lines in the Mediterranean Sea.
This according to documents released by ISIS supporters and propagandists and obtained by the Quilliam Foundation, a Britain-based think tank that focuses on counter-extremism.
The purported ISIS documents, obtained and reviewed by WND, received widespread news coverage.
However, some of the more sensational possibilities described within the pages were largely overlooked.
The documents indicate ISIS views Libya as not just fertile ground for a headquarters but as a staging base to infiltrate Europe by boat along with the hundreds of migrants who daily attempt to flee to Italy.
One ISIS document recognized Libya has a “long coastline” that “looks upon the southern Crusader states, which can be reached with ease by even a rudimentary boat.”
The document noted “the number of ‘illegal immigration’ trips from this coast is massive, estimated to be as high as 500 people a day, as a low estimate.”
It states that “according to many [of these immigrants], it is easily possible to pass through Maritime Security Checkpoints and arrive in [European] cities.”
“If this was even partially exploited and developed strategically, pandemonium could be wrought in the southern Europe. It is even possible that there could be a closure of shipping lines because of the targeting of Crusader ships and tankers.
The Quillium Foundation warns: “Therefore, the opportunities that lie in the exploitation of human trafficking rings make Libya unparalleled as a launching platform for attacking European states and shipping lines.”
The ISIS documents extensively discuss what they claim are massive caches of light, medium and heavy munitions in Libya. Jihadists are urged to make their way to Libya to help expand the caliphate.
“Not only will pressure on the land of the Caliphate in ash-Sham be relieved, but the territories of the Caliphate in ash-Sham, Iraq and Hijaz will be linked with those of their brothers in Libya and the Islamic Maghreb and the defeat of all regimes and tyrants in their way will be enabled.”
How real are ISIS’s claims about migrant boats flooding Europe?
Just last week, Italy reportedly rescued some 2,164 migrants coming from Libya on about a dozen boats. The incident took place the same day Italian coast guard members were reportedly threatened by four armed men who approached them by speedboat from the Libyan coast.
The U.N. refugee organization UNHCR estimates that at least 218,000 migrants from North Africa crossed the Mediterranean by boat last year, with some 3,500 dying on the way.
Italy’s defense minister, Roberta Pinotti, told the country’s Il Messaggero newspaper last week the potential for terrorists infiltrating Italy in boats carrying immigrants from Libya “could not be ruled out.”
With additional research by Joshua Klein.