Islamic State are plotting mass casualty terror atrocities in Europe following the massacres in France last year, the EU’s crime-fighting agency has warned.
The terror group claims have to hundreds of militants in countries across the continent ready to bring murder and mayhem to the streets, said Europol.
This militants have set up a specialist command after carrying out horrifying strikes against Western targets, including the machine gun assault and suicide bombings which murdered 130 people in Paris last November.
A report by Europol, the agency set up to share intelligence, crime-fighting techniques and bolster cross-border police co-operation, said there was ‘every reason’ to expect another IS attack.
It said: ‘There is every reason to expect that IS, IS-inspired terrorists or another religiously inspired terrorist group will undertake a terrorist attack somewhere in Europe again, intended to cause mass casualties amongst the civilian population.
‘This is in addition to the threat of lone actor attacks, which has not diminished.’
IS is preparing more strikes by marauding machinegun-wielding gunmen that echo the Mumbai atrocities in 2008 after repeating the tactics in the French capital.
Intelligence suggested IS had developed an ‘external actions command’ trained for Special Forces-style operations abroad, said the report.
It said: ‘The attacks will be primarily directed at soft targets, because of the impact it generates. Both the November Paris attacks and the October 2015 bombing of a Russian airliner suggest a shift in IS strategy towards going global.’
New attacks are also likely against critical infrastructure such as power grids and nuclear facilities not currently seen as a priority for IS.
The jihadists are also thought to have set up small terror training camps in the EU and Balkans, the report added.
The report on changes in the way Islamist terror groups operated was published at the launch of a European Counter Terrorism Centre based in the The Hague, the Netherlands.
It came as IS released a video on Sunday purporting to show nine of the jihadists who attacked Paris in which they threaten ‘coalition countries’ including Britain.
Europol director Rob Wainwright said Islamic State had ‘developed a new combat-style capability to carry out a campaign of large-scale terrorist attacks on a global stage, with a particular focus in Europe.’
He added: ‘So-called Islamic State has a willingness and a capability to carry out further attacks in Europe, and of course all national authorities are working to prevent that from happening.’
Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has called on all Muslims to rise up and overthrow the West.
Last year Andrew Parker, director general of the security agency, said Islamic State terrorists were planning mass casualty attacks in Britain.
He said threats from homegrown jihadis who want to fight for the militant movement showed no sign of abating.