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.

11 septiembre 2017

INTERPOL training targets border security in Southeast Asia

28 agosto 2017

INTERPOL operational training aims to boost ASEAN border security

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’

26 junio 2017

Security issues focus of INTERPOL Chief meeting with Russian Interior Minister

09 junio 2017

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

08 junio 2017

Transnational terrorism focus of INTERPOL meeting

23 mayo 2017

INTERPOL assisting UK coordinate international response after Manchester terrorist attack

17 mayo 2017

OSCE Secretariat and INTERPOL launch joint action plan to combat transnational crime

16 mayo 2017

Los peligros del terrorismo y la ciberdelincuencia para la seguridad en Europa, temas centrales de una reunión de INTERPOL

12 mayo 2017

Shaping border security focus of INTERPOL workshop on ASEAN common visa

28 abril 2017

INTERPOL training looks to enhance border security in Southeast Asia

21 abril 2017

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

10 abril 2017

INTERPOL programme aims to foster maritime security in Southeast Asia

05 abril 2017

INTERPOL Chief outlines support to Arab Interior Ministers Council in combating terrorism

04 abril 2017

Cybersecurity experts meet on the future of major event security

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

22 marzo 2017

INTERPOL reaffirms support to Global Coalition as international policing partner

16 marzo 2017

Enhancing Southeast Asian capacity to respond to terrorist threats focus of INTERPOL exercise

12 marzo 2017

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

08 marzo 2017

Las Oficinas Centrales Nacionales de INTERPOL, esenciales para la mejora de la seguridad mundial

10 febrero 2017

INTERPOL operational exercise targets smuggling of chemical explosive precursors

06 febrero 2017

Countering terrorist use of social media focus of INTERPOL training

01 febrero 2017

INTERPOL and Gulf Cooperation Council unite efforts in combating crime and terrorism

18 enero 2017

Strengthening policing capacity across Asia focus of INTERPOL meeting in Nepal

16 diciembre 2016

INTERPOL workshop focuses on chemical security risks and challenges

09 noviembre 2016

Los datos biométricos de terroristas son necesarios para activar el mecanismo de alarma a escala mundial, según INTERPOL

21 octubre 2016

INTERPOL Chief warns of dangerous gaps in global screening for foreign terrorist fighters

14 octubre 2016

Multi-agency response to bioterrorism incidents focus of INTERPOL exercise

23 septiembre 2016

INTERPOL training in Bali targets trafficking of chemical and explosive materials

23 septiembre 2016

Challenges in responding to infectious disease incidents focus of INTERPOL meeting

16 septiembre 2016

Bridges needed to address complex crime landscape says INTERPOL Chief

10 septiembre 2016

Regional threats require a global response – INTERPOL Chief in Central Africa

10 agosto 2016

Global response to terrorism must evolve with the threat - INTERPOL Chief

22 julio 2016

INTERPOL se une a la Coalición Internacional Contra el Estado Islámico

15 julio 2016

El jefe de INTERPOL condena con firmeza el atroz atentado terrorista cometido en Niza

12 julio 2016

1 500 policías participan en una operación contra la delincuencia organizada en África Oriental y Austral

08 junio 2016

INTERPOL’s global network supporting Euro 2016 security

23 mayo 2016

INTERPOL y la ONUDD estrechan lazos para combatir la delincuencia transnacional

20 mayo 2016

Operational exercise targets smuggling of chemical explosives

18 mayo 2016

La migración y la seguridad fronteriza, temas principales de la reunión europea de INTERPOL

17 mayo 2016

El tráfico de migrantes es un “negocio multinacional”, según un informe conjunto de Europol e INTERPOL

12 mayo 2016

Tackling corruption requires collective response, INTERPOL Chief tells international summit

28 abril 2016

La lucha contra la delincuencia transnacional y el terrorismo, tema central de una reunión de INTERPOL

21 abril 2016

Incautación de armas y explosivos en una operación dirigida por INTERPOL

05 abril 2016

Head of French Police talks terrorism with INTERPOL Chief during visit

01 abril 2016

INTERPOL Chief discusses terrorism in CNN interview

01 abril 2016

El intercambio de información eficaz debe fundamentar las medidas contra el terrorismo nuclear, declara el jefe de INTERPOL

25 marzo 2016

INTERPOL holds bioterrorism workshop

25 marzo 2016

INTERPOL global resources supporting Brussels terror probe

19 marzo 2016

INTERPOL aconseja mejorar la vigilancia fronteriza tras la detención de Abdeslam

15 marzo 2016

Regional police organizations gather at INTERPOL meeting to enhance cooperation

29 febrero 2016

INTERPOL meeting addresses terrorist threats across Asia-Pacific

15 febrero 2016

Enhancing port security in the Philippines focus of INTERPOL training

29 enero 2016

INTERPOL nuclear trafficking conference looks ahead to 2016 Nuclear Summit

27 enero 2016

La lucha contra el tráfico ilícito de materiales nucleares en todo el mundo, objetivo de una conferencia de INTERPOL

13 enero 2016

European Parliament President and INTERPOL Chief meet on security issues

11 enero 2016

El Jefe de INTERPOL afirma que la lucha contra el terrorismo se encuentra en una etapa decisiva

Statement by INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock on the Paris attacks

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