"PARIS -- Islamic extremists are returning to France from Iraq's battlegrounds with the skills and desire to carry out attacks in Europe, a top anti-terror judge said yesterday...The Iraq war is changing the face of militancy in France, investigating judge Jean-François Ricard said ...Islamic militants from France have long participated in armed struggles and received battle training around the globe, in places such as Chechnya, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, Ricard said. But only rarely have such militants sought to bring violence back with them, he said."
These are also contentions raised by Yossef Bodansky's "Great Ramadan Offensive" report which I publicized here. From my article of 9/8:
"A few days later, according to GIS, a doctrinal statement from Zarqawi emerged, which stressed the priority of al Qaeda in Iraq establishing "another base that will export jihad to all parts of the world the same way the mother al Qaeda in Afghanistan was...Bodansky said there is a growing awareness among Western European intelligence services of the "chatter" and activation of jihadist units, led by veterans of Iraq and Chechnya."
Some related info from Bodansky's report of Sept. 2:
"Iraq, on the other hand, has become the new center for global mobilization and training of the new generation of commanders and expert terrorists who will spearhead the jihad at the heart of the West...
By mid-August 2005, the intensity and volume of the Islamist-jihadist electronic communication exceeded that of the months prior to September 2001. As well, there begun an unprecedented movement of cadres and messengers all over the world, suggesting last minute delivery of instructions and the adjusting of deployment of experts.
Most important have been the surges in traffic of mujahedin from Chechnya to Iraq, and from Iraq to Western Europe via Bosnia-Herzegovina...
In mid-August 2005, Italian intelligence warned of impending terrorist strikes. Although Rome learned that 55-year-old Abu-Abdul-Rahman al-Jazaeri, a senior associate of Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, was most likely in Italy, he could not be located. Jazaeri had lived for about 15 years in Italy before joining the Iraqi jihad, where, despite his age, he distinguished himself in urban combat against US forces. However, Jazaeri was most renowned, Italian intelligence warned, “for his special expertise in preparing car bombs and explosive belts”.
Jazaeri was believed to have recently met in Fallujah with an Al-Zarqawi messenger and to have received “the definitive mandate to plan and carry out a major terrorist operation in Italy”. As part of this plan, Rome learned, several sleeper cells were activated via the Islamist-jihadist HQ is Saudi Arabia.
Other would-be terrorists and martyr-bombers were en route to, or perhaps had already arrived, in Western Europe via Bosnia-Herzegovina. ..German intelligence also raised the alarm about the mounting threat. “Terrorism is coming home,” acknowledged a German senior official. “And it’s coming home to those countries whose governments may have believed they were immune from terror because for years they have provided safe haven to notorious Islamic extremists...
Indicative of the resilience and magnitude of the preparations for the terrorism offensive at the heart of Europe is the intensification and expansion of the support operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina in August 2005...This cell is but one of many comparable cells and networks known to be operating in Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, they seem to be protected by the Bosnian security authorities who not only have done nothing in the aftermath of arrest in Croatia, but have since shielded other cells when they were discovered by West European intelligence services. For example, terrorist training camps which had been located near the Jablanica and Boracko Lakes were recently forewarned, and their people and equipment safely moved to other locations, soon after Sarajevo was queried about them.
In early August 2005, the Active Islamic Youth organized a big camp in Grmusa, between Bihac and Bosanska Krupa, for young West European Islamists-jihadists. Several big tents were erected to house large groups of young people. The parking lots were filled with cars with plates from various European countries. West European intelligence services have since learned that on their return, many of these European cars carried weapons, instructions, funds and would-be terrorists back home. "