MOSCOW, November 17 (Sputnik) — The Islamic State (IS) militant group has sleeper terror cells in several European countries and they are awaiting orders, an IS defector told the Norwegian broadcaster NRK in an interview published Monday.
"There are cells waiting for orders, and it is more than one group," the man said on conditions of anonymity.
The former IS fighter spoke to NRK at a secret location in Turkey. The man said he had defected several months ago, after serving with the IS in the northeastern Syrian city of Ar-Raqqah, which is under full control of the violent militant group.
According to NRK, the man heard about numerous IS cells in Europe while still working for the jihadists. He served as a so-called "special soldier" and took part in executions before fleeing for Turkey. The man specifically mentioned the existence of Sweden-based IS terrorists.
"I got a call from a friend who had received threats from IS in Sweden," the defector confessed, adding that members of IS sleeper cells in Europe have not necessarily been to war zones in Syria or Iraq.
The Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS or ISIL, has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories that had fallen under its control.
Numerous foreign fighters from the European Union, the United States and Canada are believed to be fighting for the jihadist group. According to the US State Department, about 12,000 foreigners have joined the extremists fighting against government forces in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011.