For a second time this month, President Donald Trump threatened to release Islamic State fighters into Europe, saying the United States is not going to foot the bill for holding the captured members of ISIS at Guantanamo Bay.
“We’re holding thousands of ISIS fighters right now. And Europe has to take them,” Trump said, before warning that “if Europe doesn’t take them, I’ll have no choice but to release them into the countries from which they came — which is Germany and France and other places.”
The president made a similar threat on August 1, when he told reporters that he would release “thousands” of ISIS fighters into Europe.
The Independent noted that about “800 Isis fighters of European origin are currently being detained in northern Syria by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, along with thousands of women and children.”
“We have thousands of Isis fighters that we want Europe to take and let’s see if they take them. And if they don’t take them, we’ll probably have to release them to Europe,” Trump said at the time.
On Wednesday, the president said America’s allies were fine with the U.S. capturing the fighters but now “as usual, our allies say, ‘oh no, we don’t want them.’”
Trump said his administration has already informed the countries that they must take the prisoners, because “the United States is not going to put them in Guantanamo for the next 50 years and pay for it.”
Asked if he has a deadline for the European nations to claim the fighters, Trump said, “It’s moving along, my deadline. They know.”