14 December 2010
German authorities mounted raids against two Islamist groups suspected of seeking to overthrow the government and establish a religious state, the Interior Ministry said.
The searches targeted homes and religious schools linked to Salafist jihadist group Invitation to Paradise (EZP) in the northwestern cities of Braunschweig and Mönchengladbach, and the Islamic Cultural Center Bremen (IKZB).
“The EZP and the IKZB are accused of opposing the constitutional order with the aim of replacing it in Germany with an Islamic religious state,” the ministry said in a statement.
The raids were part of a long-running investigation against the groups and had no link to warnings of potential impending terrorist attacks issued last month by Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, it added.
The groups reject parliamentary democracy and believe that Islamic law should replace the constitution, the ministry said.
Two Pakistani students arrested over an alleged terror plot have returned to Pakistan after deciding to leave the UK voluntarily, the Home Office has said. Abdul Khan, 26, and Shoaib Khan, 27, were among 12 people held by police after raids in north-west England in April, but the pair were never charged.
It is understood the men decided to leave after being denied bail while appealing against deportation. Abdul Khan said his detention had been “like a hell” and his treatment showed the British authorities “do not know what justice means”. The men’s solicitor, Amjad Malik, said his clients should have been freed instead of being held for months. Mr Malik claimed both men had been frequently strip-searched, subjected to “searches by dogs” and served tainted food. The British High Commission in Pakistan has rejected the allegations as “unfounded”.
Twenty-six foreigners suspected of links to international terrorism and aiding illegal immigration, are being investigated by Italian police, after raids carried out in several Italian cities.
The raids were carried out in the northern cities of Vicenza, Venice, Padova, Brescia, Como, Cuneo, Trento, and Florence. Anti-terrorism and criminal investigators began probing fundamentalists attending the Via Dei Mille mosque in the northern Veneto region – led by an imam who is being investigated for terror links. Most of the 26 foreigners are stated to be of Algerian descent, and had already been involved in falsifying documents relating to jihadi groups, according to investigators.
Anti-terrorism police in Italy carried out at least 135 raids across Italy and are pursuing investigations of 11 foreigners suspected of having connections to an alleged Morocco-based Islamist group, Al-Adl Wal Ihsan. Investigators have called the Al-Adl Wal Ihsan – or “Justice and Charity” organization, a cover for a group seeking the restoration of an Islamic caliphate in Morocco and the abolition of the monarchy.
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A link between terrorism plots and hardcore child pornography is becoming clear after a string of police raids in Britain and across the Continent, an investigation by The Times has discovered. Images of child abuse have been found during Scotland Yard antiterrorism swoops and in big inquiries in Italy and Spain. Secret coded messages are being embedded into child pornographic images, and paedophile websites are being exploited as a secure way of passing information between terrorists.
British security services are also aware of the trend and believe that it requires further investigation to improve understanding of terrorists’ methods and mindsets. Concerns within the Metropolitan Police led to a plan to run a pilot research project exploring the nature of the link. One source familiar with the proposal said that this could eventually lead to the training of child welfare experts to identify signs of terrorist involvement as they monitor pornographic sites. Concerns have already been expressed at Cabinet minister level about the risk of vulnerable Muslim youths being exploited by older men. Officers have noted that child sex abuse images have been found during investigations into some of the most advanced suspected plots. However, it is understood that the proposed research project was never implemented because the AntiTerrorism Branch was overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases it was having to deal with. Richard Kerbaj and Dominic Kennedy report.
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London Daily News
Spanish police arrested 13 men accused of harboring Islamic extremists, including several suspected of having connections to the 2004 Madrid bombings, and helping them flee Spain. The arrests were made in areas near Barcelona, Madrid, and Algeciras. The recent arrests stemmed from an operation three years ago, in 2005, in which Spanish police broke up a cell that allegedly recruited people for suicide attacks against US-led forces in Iraq. At least eight of the detained are of Moroccan origin; details about the others have not been provided
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A Spanish judge charged eleven men with plotting suicide attacks against the public transportation network in Barcelona. The indictment says the cell of ten Pakistanis and one Indian, had plans to carry out an attack between January 18-20 of this year. The indictment said that the men were very close to achieving full technical capacity with explosives to carry out the attack. In raids of the suspects’ homes, small amounts of bomb-making material were found – which were not believed to be a part of a large-scale mission, but serve in training exercises.
Police have raided over a dozen properties across Germany in a major anti-terrorism operation. Their targets were radical Muslims who they suspect were wanting to wage jihad in Germany and abroad. Police carried out anti-terror raids across Germany on Wednesday, aimed at disrupting a network of Islamists who were allegedly trying to radicalize Germans and support jihad abroad. Around 130 officers raided 16 homes, clubs and publishing houses in Berlin, Bonn, Leipzig, Sindelfingen, Neu-Ulm and Ulm early on Wednesday morning. The Munich public prosecutor’s office, which is leading the investigation, said the raids were directed at Islamists who are suspected of “forming a criminal network.” The nine men are German nationals aged between 25 and 47. Most of them are of immigrant background. The men are accused of trying to radicalize Muslims and non-Muslims in the period since September 2005. According to investigators, their base was a former community center called the Multicultural House in Neu-Ulm, a notorious meeting point for radical Islamists.
Pre-dawn police raids in Denmark have netted five people suspected of involvement in a plot to kill a cartoonist whose depiction of the Prophet Muhammad helped spark international violence two years ago. Danish police conducted a series of pre-dawn raids Tuesday morning_and arrested several individuals suspected of planning to murder one of the 12 cartoonists whose unflattering depictions of the Prophet Muhammad led to worldwide protests in 2006. Those arrested include several “people with a Muslim background” with both Danish and foreign citizenship, according to the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which originally published the caricatures in the autumn of 2005. The paper reports that cartoonist Kurt Westergaard was the target of the plot and that Danish authorities have been investigating the threat for some time.
After police and security forces arrested several men and seized bomb-making material in Jan. 19 raids on a mosque and four other homes, Spain’s attorney general said they had stopped an imminent attack. Spanish authorities, however, quickly backed off that, acknowledging that the amount of explosives seized was very small. What is clear, however, is that the case has created problems between Spanish and French intelligence services. The Barcelona plot was uncovered thanks to a French secret agent identified as F-1, who arrived on a train from France to join the cell. A French security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the intelligence, told The Associated Press that counterterrorism teams in France had expressed “astonishment” about the way Spanish authorities had handled the case. French authorities questions whether handlers of the case in Barcelona had jeopardized other investigations, elsewhere.