Der Spiegel: 21 Countries in Secret Counter-Terror Group

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel has been working with 20 other countries in a secret counter-terror group tracking European jihadis returning home from fighting in Syria with Islamic State, according to the German daily Der Spiegel.

The group, which goes by the name “Gallant Phoenix,” is led from a U.S. Joint Special Operations Command center in Jordan, according to the report.

The operation’s main task is information-gathering and sharing. It collects documents, DNA traces and fingerprints of the returning jihadists, who now represent a potential terrorist threat in Europe.

Of the 20 countries said to be participating in the program, only Israel, the U.S., Germany and Jordan were named.

Since the rise of Islamic State in 2014, an estimated 40,000 people joined its ranks. The British paper The Telegraph said that, according to the British security intelligence agency Soufan Group, “The world will face years of terrorism as a result.”

The Spiegel report follows a disclosure last month by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that Israeli intelligence had helped prevent a mass terrorist attack in Europe.