Chasing ISIS

Chasing ISIS

Why Europe Can't Find the Jihadis in Its Midst

Buzzfeed, 2016

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Eye Opening
  • Well Structured


In this 6,600-word BuzzFeed News report, veteran Middle East reporter Mitchell Prothero reveals the obstacles EU officials face in fighting some 10,000 potential terrorists, either homegrown or sent from ISIS battlefields. He interviews anonymous – mostly French and Belgian – intelligence officials, thus depending on unattributed sources, but he knows his stuff. getAbstract urges those interested in how the EU fights terrorism to heed Prothero’s urgent concern about its lack of a central antiterrorism force. With the ISIS threat, he says, Europe must fight differently.


In the summer of 2014, police in Brussels pursued two ISIS suspects linked to a man charged in the May murder of four people. During the surveillance, investigators followed the suspects’ bugged car, but when the suspects suddenly switched from French to Arabic, the cops had no translator. By the time they got a transcript three days later, the suspects were in Syria. Such obstacles face EU police, who are dealing with 10,000 potential terrorists. From 2011 to 2015, some 1,700 people left France and Belgium to join ISIS in the Middle East. (Some came back.) Far-right leaders...

About the Author

Longtime Middle East reporter Mitchell Prothero is a former McClatchy Iraq bureau chief. He is BuzzFeed News’s 2016-2017 Michael Hastings national security fellow.

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