By Shelley Marsden
Irish authorities have confirmed that they are closely watching the movements of almost thirty Irish Muslims who have been travelling from Ireland to Iraq and other areas of conflict in recent months.
Three of the people under surveillance are thought to have been killed, including a 16-year-old boy. The others are also being monitored by international security agencies, as suspicions have begun to emerge about potential jihadists using the country as a base between tours of fighting in the Middle East.
Across the EU some 2,000 citizens are estimated to have travelled to warring regions in the Middle East to join in the fighting. There are around 50,000 Muslims living in Ireland. Of these, it is believed less than 1% are sympathisers of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The general terror threat in Ireland is considered low, but the Garda Special Branch Middle Eastern Desk and military intelligence units are now focusing efforts on identifying possible “lone wolf” attackers and foreign operatives.
UK and American authorities are continuing to work towards identifying the killer of Irish-American James Foley, who is thought to be British and previously resident in London.