Greece – Terrorist organizations in Greece have amassed an estimated 10 million Euros over the last two years, mainly through armed robberies, to finance their activities, according to police sources. The police say that Nikos Maziotis, the convicted leader of “the Revolutionary Struggle” who has been unaccounted for since the summer of 2012, has taken part in at least five armed bank raids which netted his group more than 1.5 million euro’s. Revolutionary Struggle was thought to have been dismantled following several arrests and convictions of suspected members, including Maziotis and his girlfriend Panagiota Roupa, but the police say that Maziotis’s possible involvement in attacks claimed by new organizations over the past two years indicates that Greek militants have recovered from the set-backs of the last two years.
Serbia – Serbia will hold a snap parliamentary election in Mar 14 as the co-ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) seeks to cash in on rising poll numbers it was reported on the 16 Jan 14. A spokesman for the government declined to comment on the report, which follows weeks of mounting speculation that the Balkan country is heading for a second election in less than two years as the coalition tussles over the pace of economic reform and a battle to root out corruption. Tensions may flare during the build up, the election and for a short period after the results are known.
United Kingdom/Europe – British people fighting in Syria are being trained as “jihadists” and then encouraged to return to the UK to launch attacks on home soil, an al-Qaeda defector and western security sources have told a British newspaper. A defector from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has said that recruits from Britain, Europe and the US were being indoctrinated in extremist anti-Western ideology, trained in how to make and detonate car bombs and suicide vests and sent home to start new terror cells. Britain’s security and intelligence agencies believe the threat of would-be terrorists being directed back to the UK by al-Qaeda organisers in Syria is growing. It is feared that as genuine opposition groups fade in the war-torn country, extremist and terror groups such as ISIS will have an increasing influence allowing them to target more foreign recruits for their cause. In an interview with the newspaper, the defector, known as Murad, said of the foreign fighters he met in Syria: “They talked often about terrorist attacks. The foreigners were proud of 9/11 and the London bombings. The British, French and American mujahedeen in the room started talking about places that they wanted to bomb or explode themselves in Europe and the United States. Everyone named a target. The American said he dreamed of blowing up the White House.” In his first public speech in October, Andrew Parker, the Director General of MI5, said: “For the future, there is good reason to be concerned about Syria. A growing proportion of our casework now has some link to Syria, mostly concerning individuals from the UK who have travelled to fight there or who aspire to do so.”
On the 27 Jan 14 Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, has warned that terrorism motivated by religious extremism is growing and the West needs a global strategy to tackle it. Blair said the battles of the twenty-first century will no longer be about extreme political ideology as it was in the twentieth century. "The fact is that, though of course there are individual grievances or reasons for the violence in each country, there is one thing self-evidently in common: the acts of terrorism are perpetrated by people motivated by an abuse of religion. It is a perversion of faith. But there is no doubt that those who commit the violence often do so by reference to their faith and the sectarian nature of the conflict is a sectarianism based on religion. There is no doubt either that this phenomenon is growing, not abating."