Despite Daesh's* self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria crumbling under the weight of the Syrian Arab Army, AIVD state "the attraction of jihadist ideology remains", and the loosely-connected organization "has transformed itself into an underground movement, preparing for a resurrection". As a result, the threat of Islamic extremism has become a fundamentally structural part of European society, the intelligence agency suggest.
Much of the threat is said to stem from returning fighters from Iraq and Syria — a total of 310 people traveled from the Netherlands to fight under the banner of Daesh and other affiliated jihadist groups, with around 135 known to still be there. Over 30 are in refugee camps or in custody, 85 have died, and around 55 returned to the Netherlands.
As an illustration of the threat facing the Netherlands, in September seven men suspected of planning an attack were arrested — the full details of their plot are yet to be revealed, but the AIVD claim to have been keeping an eye on them for some time prior. As of November 6, they remain in custody.
Post-arrest searches uncovered large quantities of raw materials for explosives — the guns were yet to arrive by the planned execution date in August, meaning they were forced to delay. Authorities intervened not long after, arresting four members of the group in their holiday home in Weert — which was equipped with listening devices.
The central figure in the group, born in Iraq, had previously been convicted of trying to travel to Syria and join a terrorist organization. When arrested for the aborted August plot, he was still on probation period.
*Daesh, also known as ISIS, Islamic State is a terrorist group, banned in Russia.