As the last remnants of Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ is dealt a severe blow on the ground, sleeper cells from the group are already planning devastating revenge attacks in Europe and Syria, recently discovered files reveal.
The documents, obtained by the Sunday Times, show that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) operatives are supporting jihadists to plan fresh attacks in European cities, while sleeper cells within Syria have formed hit-squads to assassinate its enemies.
The cache was contained in a hard drive dropped by an IS sleeper cell during a firefight with local forces in the Syrian desert in February.
Attesting to its authenticity, the paper said the files contained the types of meticulous detail that have become a hallmark of the group’s record keeping and bureaucracy. Lists of fighters’ names and allotted weapons were joined by budget spreadsheets and payments to fighters and their wives. Others lament the lack of availability of suicide bombers and vehicles for use as car bombs.
However, more startling are letters from a senior IS leader who goes by the name Abu Taher al-Tajiki, claiming he has fighters willing to conduct operations “far away from the Islamic State” and would be in touch with them to “carry out the operations.” To facilitate these attacks, he requests the setting up of a Bureau of Foreign Relations for the Department of Operations in Europe.
Other letters addressed to group leaders in Iraq and Syria by al-Tajiki proposes the establishment of what he calls “crocodile cells,” called such to represent IS killers who hide beneath the surface before attacking. Their missions would involve “killing the enemies of God and taking their money.” Online hackers and technicians were also available for missions without the need for weapons.
News of the plans comes as the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) claimed victory over the so-called caliphate’s last remaining pockets in Syria on Saturday.
The victory comes following months of efforts to oust the last remaining IS holdouts along the Euphrates. Al-Tajiki had planned to present the plan to the group’s elusive head, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but this didn’t go ahead after a go-between was killed.
However, the Syrian government remains skeptical of Washington’s claim that the jihadist group has been defeated militarily following several previous claims of victory over the group by US President Donald Trump.
Speaking on Friday, Syria’s UN envoy warned that terrorists were hiding within the Rukban refugee camp, located in a US-protected zone near the Jordanian border.
Sources: RT, Sunday Times