Spain – Hundreds of migrants stormed into Spain's North African territory of Ceuta from Morocco early on the 17 Feb 17 the emergency services and police said, adding that some were injured in the process. "The Civil Guard at Ceuta estimates that 500 people could have succeeded in entering the town," the emergency services said on Twitter. The Civil Guard, or paramilitary police, meanwhile said that "several hundreds" crossed over and many of them were hurt, as were members of the security forces. The last such attempt took place on New Year's Day when more than 1,000 migrants tried to jump a high double fence between Morocco and Ceuta in a violent assault that saw one officer lose an eye. The emergency services said on Twitter that the Spanish Red Cross extended assistance to some 400 people. Ceuta and Melilla, another Spanish territory in North Africa, have the European Union's only land borders with Africa. The enclave has been ringed by a double wire fence that is eight kilometres (five miles) long. The six-metre (20-foot) high fence also has rolls of barbed wire.
United Kingdom/Returning Jihadists – Scores of British jihadi women and children returning home from Syria and Iraq as the Islamic State crumbles pose an unprecedented threat to the UK, secret intelligence analysis warns. According to a chilling classified report prepared for the Prime Minister by intelligence officers – and seen by a British newspaper on the 19 Feb 17 – lone-wolf terror attacks by returnees are all but inevitable. While the threat by battle-hardened adult male jihadis is well-known, this is the first time the danger of women and children returning from Syria and Iraq has been documented. The secret warning comes as the anticipated military defeat of Islamic State (IS) in their stronghold of Raqqa is set to send jihadis back across Europe – a threat dubbed the ‘Raqqa scatter’. Returning women and children will escape prosecution for terror offences if they can convince police they were coerced into travelling to Syria or Iraq by husbands or parents. The document warns that as IS faces imminent military defeat, it is more and more likely to use women and children to carry out attacks in Britain. Intelligence services fear that as IS’s final defeat looms, the increasing number of female jihadis who try to re-enter will reach the point where it will not be possible to adequately monitor them. The report states: ‘The threat women pose is likely to be greater than the available intelligence allows us to assess.’ More than 850 Britons have travelled to Syria and Iraq, the vast majority to join IS. About half have already returned, the report says. Of the remainder there are about 80 women and at least 90 British-born children. But the actual number of those returning could be much higher as many British ‘jihadi brides’ have had children in the Middle East. Returning jihadi women are expected to delete incriminating social media accounts and destroy mobile phones to hinder any investigations. Some will try to come back with their children using false identities and forged documents, the report says. The study claims that some British women have already undergone military training under IS including Aqsa Mahmood, 22, from Glasgow, and white convert Sally-Anne Jones, 46, from Gillingham, Kent, who took her son with her to Syria. They were part of IS’s infamous Al-Khansa Brigade, a female morality police accused of torturing other women. Suspected jihadis who cannot be prosecuted because of a lack of evidence can be made subject to Temporary Exclusion Orders under which they are tagged and monitored. The Home Office can also use Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIMs), putting an extremist under house arrest in a property hundreds of miles away from their local area. At present, there are only six individuals in Britain subject to TPIMs. If a returning jihadi has dual nationality, the Government may try to strip away their British citizenship and ban them from returning to the country in what is known as deprivation of citizenship. IS expert Nikita Malik of think-tank the Quilliam Foundation said: ‘We have seen child soldiers in other theatres of war, but nothing like under IS, who brainwash children through their schools.’ The term ‘Raqqa scatter’ is used by the intelligence officers who wrote the secret report seen by The MoS. It refers to the fear that European jihadis fighting in the IS strongholds of Raqqa and Mosul will return to wreak havoc in the West after the terror group’s defeat. Among them may be women such as white convert Sally-Anne Jones, whose 11-year-old son apparently executed a prisoner in a horrific IS video. Last year, Tareena Shakil became the first returning female jihadi to be jailed – after taking her baby son with her to Syria in 2014 – but others may go free if they convince police they were forced into going to the caliphate.
United Kingdom/Northern Ireland – A suspect device was found underneath a car at a police officer's home, it was reported on the 22 Feb 17. A security alert was put underway in the city at the time of the event and homes around the area were evacuated. The Policing Board said the officer involved had a "lucky escape".
United Kingdom – Britain faces a level of terror threat not seen since the IRA bombings of the 1970s, according to a new watchdog. Max Hill QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism laws, told the Sunday Telegraph that Islamist extremists were targeting UK cities. He credited the effectiveness of the intelligence services in limiting the level of threat to Britain. Home Secretary Amber Rudd told ITV's Peston on the 26 Feb 17 that defending the UK was her "main priority". Ms Rudd said she agreed with Mr Hill's assessment of the current terror threat facing the UK, adding that ensuring a country is well-defended is "the most important job a home secretary does". Mr Hill also pledged to review anti-terror measures over concerns about any infringements of freedom. Mr Hill, who successfully prosecuted the failed 21/7 bombers and the killers of Damilola Taylor, said the so-called Islamic State was planning "indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians of whatever race or colour" in UK cities, close to the scale of Provisional IRA attacks of the 1970s. Speaking in his first interview since being appointed to his watchdog role, he said there were distinctions in the "mindset" of the IRA 40 years ago and those under IS now. But he added: "I think the intensity and the potential frequency of serious plot planning represents an enormous ongoing risk that none of us can ignore. "So I think that there is undoubtedly significant ongoing risk which is at least as great as the threat to London in the 1970s when the IRA were active on the mainland." He highlighted the numbers of British people travelling to Iraq and Syria to fight for IS. "It's an enormous concern that large numbers - we know this means at least hundreds of British citizens who have left this country in order to fight - are now returning or may be about to return". In his interview, he defended ministers over compensation to ex-Guantanamo Bay detainee Jamal al-Harith, who later carried out a suicide bomb attack in Iraq. Mr Hill said ministers who approved a reported £1m of compensation for al-Harith - a 50-year-old from Manchester formerly known as Ronald Fiddler - could not have known the man would later join IS. Earlier this month, IS said al-Harith - who was sent to Guantanamo Bay in 2002 - detonated a car bomb at an Iraqi army base in Tal Gaysum, south-west of Mosul. Al-Harith's family denied he received that sum, saying it was a group settlement split between him and three others. "[Ministers] are to be called to account if in error taxpayers' money is paid to an individual who actually represents a significant risk to our national security through terrorist activity here or abroad," said Mr Hill. "But they cannot be held to account for a risk that was simply not present, not visible and not detectable at the time of the payout."