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Foreign terrorist fighters

The phenomenon

Increasingly, we are seeing terrorist groups work to radicalize individuals and inciting them to leave their homes to become foreign terrorist fighters. These groups leverage the Internet and social media for recruitment, creating a truly global security threat.

Individuals – often young people – are being lured from communities worldwide to travel to conflict zones in the Middle East to join terrorist groups operating primarily in Iraq and Syria, and increasingly in Libya.

These individuals sometimes use fraudulent identity documents to reach their destinations undetected.

Those who return to their countries of origin pose even greater security risks, as they can exploit the military skills they learned abroad to carry out attacks on their home territory.

INTERPOL’s global role

In September 2014, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2178 which recognizes INTERPOL’s efforts against the foreign terrorist fighter threat.

These efforts include information sharing via our I-24/7 secure communications network, global databases and a system of international notices. In addition, we have procedures to track stolen and forged identity papers and travel documents, which form part of our Integrated Border Management Task Force.

The value of sharing information

Information sharing is key to identifying foreign terrorist fighters and preventing them from crossing borders.

INTERPOL’s Counter-terrorism Fusion Centre is a global hub for intelligence on transnational terrorist networks shared by member countries worldwide. A dedicated project on foreign terrorist fighters was established in July 2013 to address this phenomenon.

We maintain a database of suspected foreign terrorist fighters. Data is analysed and insights are shared with INTERPOL’s membership, for example, intelligence on the capabilities, means and emerging trends of foreign terrorist fighters.

Case studies

The success of rapid information sharing is clear.

In December 2014, three individuals – two men aged 18 and 27, and a 15-year-old boy – wanted in Spain on terrorism-related charges were arrested in Bulgaria at a border checkpoint with Turkey, just hours after INTERPOL issued an alert. They were believed to be heading to join insurgents in Syria.

Another individual wanted for terrorist offences was apprehended in Lebanon on his way to Syria in October 2014, thanks to Belgium’s decision to issue an international alert through INTERPOL.

Operational exchange

We bring together investigators for operational exchange in a working group on foreign terrorist fighters. Comprising member countries from all regions and other international organizations, the working group meets regularly to foster international cooperation and exchange information on ongoing investigations.

News
10 octubre 2018

US Attorney General discusses global security issues with INTERPOL Chief


09 octubre 2018

INTERPOL operation targets terrorist mobility and illicit weapons in Middle East and North Africa


26 septiembre 2018

La delincuencia organizada respalda las actividades terroristas y los grandes conflictos a escala mundial


07 septiembre 2018

INTERPOL a gateway for bridging regional policing efforts says Chief


31 agosto 2018

Enhanced collaboration against crime focus of UK Home Secretary visit


30 agosto 2018

Drone technology: security threats and benefits for police focus of INTERPOL forum


29 agosto 2018

Strengthening security in Southern Africa


16 agosto 2018

Border security across ASEAN region focus of INTERPOL programme


26 julio 2018

Southeast Asia: Countering terrorist use of the Internet


23 julio 2018

G5 Sahel police leaders forging closer ties with INTERPOL to combat terrorism


13 julio 2018

INTERPOL-led Mediterranean operation closes ranks on foreign terrorist fighters


06 abril 2018

“Las regiones sustentan nuestra estructura policial mundial”, afirma el jefe de INTERPOL


28 marzo 2018

Major event security experts meet on cyber threats


22 marzo 2018

INTERPOL Chief discusses security with Saudi Interior Minister


21 marzo 2018

INTERPOL operation in Southeast Asia targets movement of bomb-makers


14 marzo 2018

Intelligence-led best practices to fight terrorism focus of INTERPOL training


08 marzo 2018

INTERPOL conference highlights role of women leaders in policing


13 febrero 2018

INTERPOL Chief and Kuwait Interior Minister discuss terrorism at Global Coalition meeting


09 febrero 2018

Nigerian police getting increased access to INTERPOL information


05 febrero 2018

Los dirigentes de INTERPOL y las Naciones Unidas tratan asuntos de seguridad mundial


08 diciembre 2017

Biometric data plays key role in fighting crime and terrorism


16 noviembre 2017

Keeping foreign terrorist fighters out of East Africa focus of INTERPOL meeting


20 octubre 2017

G7 Ministers call for sharing of battlefield data on terrorists via INTERPOL


29 septiembre 2017

La Asamblea General de INTERPOL aprueba una política para el tratamiento de datos sobre los refugiados


26 septiembre 2017

El Presidente de China, Xi Jinping, inaugura la Asamblea General de INTERPOL


11 julio 2017

INTERPOL to highlight need for military to police terrorism data flow at Global Coalition meeting


10 julio 2017

Terrorism intelligence shared via INTERPOL’s Project Kalkan strengthens global ‘early warning system’


09 junio 2017

Una operación fronteriza de INTERPOL en el Sudeste Asiático da lugar a la captura de sospechosos buscados internacionalmente


21 abril 2017

Miles de policías de toda Europa participan en una operación de INTERPOL contra las armas ilegales


27 marzo 2017

Los Emiratos Árabes Unidos prometen 50 millones de euros para siete destacados proyectos de INTERPOL


24 marzo 2017

“Una desmesurada incautación de drogas pone de manifiesto el peligro de la delincuencia organizada transnacional”, afirma el jefe de INTERPOL


12 marzo 2017

Effective information sharing on violent extremism can save lives – INTERPOL Chief


Statement by INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock on the Paris attacks

Press Conference: INTERPOL Counter-Terrorism meeting on Foreign Terrorist Fighters 2015

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