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Monday 11 December 2017

'Foreign fighter' database expands

Four suspected Islamist terrorists have been arrested by armed police on suspicion of plotting attacks in the UK - amid fears of a Remembrance Sunday plot
Four suspected Islamist terrorists have been arrested by armed police on suspicion of plotting attacks in the UK - amid fears of a Remembrance Sunday plot

The head of Interpol has said a database of foreign fighters and would-be jihadis that began with little fanfare 18 months ago has expanded to include 33 countries and 1,300 names.

The international police organisation's secretary general Ronald Noble revealed the figures as he detailed new efforts to stem the flow of would-be terrorists joining extremist groups in Iraq and Syria.

Interpol is also considering expanding access to its separate system of flagging lost and stolen passports - now available only to governments, border control officers and law enforcement - to banks, hotels, airlines and cruise lines, Mr Noble said.

A draft resolution expected to be adopted by the UN Security Council would require countries to prevent the recruitment and transport of would-be foreign fighters preparing to join terrorist groups such as the Islamic State.

Mr Noble described that as a starting point, and one that could bolster the database of foreign fighters.

Ahead of a speech in Paris, he said: "The question is how we can prevent that travel and disrupt that travel.

"Interpol's idea is to get airlines involved, hotels involved, banks involved, cruise lines involved - to make it more difficult for these terrorists to use stolen documents with different identifies in order to move from one country to the next."

AirAsia has been testing the system since May, and 43 people have been flagged with stolen travel documents, Mr Noble said.

In France, Interpol has a small pilot project to see how the system could apply in the banking system.

About 2,000 Europeans are estimated to have joined fighting in Iraq and Syria, but Mr Noble warned that only a handful of the 26 European countries which have abolished controls at their common frontiers regularly check the Interpol database of stolen documents.

Press Association

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