The prison in Vendin le Vieil, northern France, Friday, Dec.15, 2017. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File)
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PARIS: Already wrestling with a constantly evolving terror threat, European intelligence agencies spy a new problem on the horizon: hundreds of Islamist militants due to be released from prison. Battling to stop further attacks like those seen everywhere from London to Paris, Brussels to Barcelona, freshly released prisoners will add to agencies' surveillance burden.Although many may go on to lead peaceful lives after prison, some may not – and officials admit they have so far given insufficient attention to working out the scale of the threat.In France alone, some 500 militants handed heavy jail sentences at the beginning of the 2000s are set to be released before 2020 after serving their time, an anti-terror official told AFP.Some 1,500 other French prisoners are suspected to have been radicalized behind bars, not least thanks to contact with these hardened extremists.Britain has some 200 people in prison on terrorism offenses as of December, according to interior ministry figures, a number that has been steadily rising in recent years.Islamic expert Alain Grignard of Liege University said up to 200 people had been sentenced on terror charges before and after the 2016 Brussels attacks, and at some point they will walk free.
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