23:24 GMT10 April 2021
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    Terrorism Threat in Europe (269)

    Earlier, Sweden emerged as one of the top EU producers of jihadists per capita. Some 150 of them have reportedly returned to Sweden, where some of them enjoy a protected identity, yet struggle to find a job.

    According to an investigation by the Swedish tabloid newspaper Expressen, Daesh returnees tend to lead a secluded life in Sweden, interacting mostly with close friends, parents or other relatives.

    One of the returnees from Daesh's "caliphate" is 27-year-old Walad Ali Yousef from Malmö. He joined Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) in the summer of 2014 and visited its "capital" al-Raqqa in Syria. Yousef, who has Iraqi-Kurdish roots, rose to fame by inviting friends to join Daesh. In one of his pictures, he notoriously poses with a submachine gun. He returned to Sweden last year and has entered an identity protection program provided by Swedish authorities. He himself claims only to have helped the exposed in al-Raqqa.

    In the past, the Malmö police investigated Yousef for robbery and receiving stolen money. Now, he says we wants to forget about Daesh and complains he cannot find a job.

    "I've been looking for a job, but I cannot get any, because my pictures are everywhere," Yousef told Expressen.

    Another Daesh returnee is 39-year-old Bherlin Dequilla Gildo from Malmö. He was one of the first to travel to Syria. In 2012, he posed in images featuring dead people whom he called "some of Assad's dogs." Gildo is known for having propagated violence and murder, but lives under a new name in southern Sweden, Expressen wrote. Gildo reportedly changed both his name and surname to avoid being recognized.

    Several years ago, Expressen's mid-Eastern correspondent Kassem Hamadé met one of Gildo's fellow jihadists, who provided the following characteristic.

    "He can do everything. Even I'm afraid of him," said Gildo's "comrade in arms."

    Recently, Swedish national broadcaster SVT revealed that municipalities notoriously keep a bad track of returnees.

    "We do not know if any have returned," Christina Kiernan, a coordinator against violence-prone extremism in the city of Stockholm, told SVT, describing the situation as unreasonable.

    A similar situation has occurred in the cities of Malmö, Gothenburg and Örebro, all known as jihadi breeding grounds.

    A somewhat untypical example is therefore 31-year-old Sultan al-Amin from Gothenburg. Having returned to Sweden, he first became a truck driver at Volvo. Later, however, he was sentenced to life imprisonment alongside fellow jihadist Hassan al-Mandlawi for links to a killing in Aleppo in the spring of 2013.

    With Daesh gradually losing land and influence in Syrian, more terrorists are expected to return to Sweden. The remainder of Sweden's jihadists are deemed to be the most hardened and dangerous ones.

    "All of them are classified as security risks because they have had contact with the Islamic state. The really dangerous ones have yet to come back," terrorist researcher Magnus Ranstorp of the National Defense Institute told Expressen.

    Last week, an unnamed Swedish jihadist called on "fellow Muslims" in Sweden to commit terrorist acts to "revenge their brothers and sisters," the Swedish news outlet Nyheter Idag wrote.

    Terrorism Threat in Europe (269)


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    jihadism, terrorism, Daesh, Middle East, Iraq, Syria, Scandinavia, Sweden
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