Foreign Fighter Returnees from Syria and Iraq
In May 2014, Mehdi Nemmouche opened fire at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. In August 2015, Ayoub El Khazzani staged a terrorist attack on a Thalys train in France. In November 2015, Abdelhamid Abaaoud orchestrated a wave of terrorist attacks in Paris. Nemmouche, El Khazzani, and Abaaoud were all returnees from Syria and Iraq. This chapter examines the threats foreign fighter returnees have already posed for their home countries. It specifically focuses on ISIS’s anti-Western agenda and analyzes the group’s use of foreign fighters. The chapter discusses ISIS-directed and ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks and traces the role foreign fighter returnees have played in them.