The number of teens facing ISIS-related terror charges has nearly quadrupled in a year
The radicalised teens fit one of two profiles: they are either youths who fled to ISIS-controlled territory in Iraq or Syria to undertake jihad before returning to France; or homegrown jihadists who were planning an imminent attack on French soil.
More than 10 of the youths were arrested after counter-terrorism police found that they had established a close online relationship with ISIS’s chief recruiter and propagandist, Rachid Kassim.
The notorious French extremist – who has been eerily quiet since the wave of arrests last summer – is said to have ‘brainwashed’ the impressionable youths via the encrypted messaging app Telegram, which he has used to orchestrate more than one bloody attack on French soil.
More than 10 youths were in contact with ISIS recruiter Rachid Kassim
Mr Molins further added that from now on, radical Islamists charged with “minor” terrorism offences, including defending terrorism and supporting ISIS, would face “immediate trial”.
Speaking to the French radio station Europe 1 this morning about the alarming trend, the prosecutor said that the terrorist threat in France remained “very high”.
He said: “Counter-terrorism officials foiled a record number of attacks last year. There is the threat of another Bataclan- or Nice-like attack; and the threat of random ‘lone-wolf’ attacks.”
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Between 2006 and 2013, terrorism caused around 130,000 fatalities worldwide.
Returnees – disillusioned or wounded ISIS defectors who return to France with their families – are also a mayor security concern, he warned.
He warned: “These fallen soldiers come back with their wives and children, who also lived – and possibly thrived – under ISIS rule. The women are not entirely innocent, they don’t just cook and clean. They are the ones who drill ISIS propaganda into their children’s heads and who bring them up as radical Muslims.”
The children of ISIS returnees, for their part, are ticking time-bombs, said Mr Molins.
Teens who radicalise are either fleeing the Middle East, or home-grown radicals
He said: “These children have witnessed executions and have watched people get tortured. In their eyes, violence is the norm.
“They are ticking time bombs, and, unfortunately, there is no miracle cure when it comes to de-radicalisation. They need all the help they can get.”