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EU anti-terror chief warns of continued threat

- March 12, 2013 - Updated 1545 PKT - From Web Edition

BRUSSELS: The EU's anti-terror chief warned Europe on Monday to remain on its guard, especially against the threat of European jihadists who are finding new safe havens from Syria to Mali.


Gilles de Kerchove, marking a day of remembrance for victims of terror, said the threat remained real whether "it stems from terrorist organisations or lone actors."


Recent successes against Al-Qaeda and associated groups, such as in Mali after the French intervention there in January, were positive, Kerchove said in a statement.


"But we know that terrorists are constantly seeking out new safe havens where they have space to operate, taking advantage of conflict situations," he said.


If most of those fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad have a stake in the future of their country, "Syria has also turned into a destination for European jihadists who want to profit from the situation there and who may also pose a threat to our societies upon their return," he said.


Pakistan, Nigeria, Yemen and the Horn of Africa remained unstable while the situation in the Maghreb and the Sahel also "has to be watched closely," he said.


"We must continue to help vulnerable countries address injustices, to combat terrorist ideology," at the same time fully respecting human rights and the rule of law, Kerchove said.


"Together, we must continue to fight terrorism in and outside Europe since far too many people have fallen victim to it," he concluded.

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