Over the next two years, terrorism convicts will walk free from European prisons by the dozens — more than 200 inmates who largely formed the first wave of jihadis streaming to Syria and Iraq, dreaming of an Islamic caliphate not yet established.
In all, about 12,000 Europeans left to fight with the Islamic State group and al-Qaida; about a third of those are now believed to be home, mostly living freely. Some are awaiting trial, but most never faced serious charges due to insufficient evidence.
And many more saw their travel plans thwarted, left behind to stew.
How much of a threat do these avowed extremists living throughout Europe pose, and how equipped are authorities to handle them? The response has been, at best, improvised.