A Few More Details Emerge on Dahmani

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Dahmani under arrest in Antalya

The last few days have brought some new pieces of information about a presumed accomplice of the Paris attackers who has been under arrest in Turkey since November 16, Ahmed Dahmani.  I referenced him in a previous article about his former boxing mate and Abdeslam associate, Ayoub Bazarouj.  Dahmani, 26, flew out of Amsterdam the day following the Paris attacks to Turkey, where he was eventually arrested by authorities in Antalya at a five-star hotel where he was meeting with Syrian-national ISIS operatives, Ahmet Tahir and Mohammed Verd.  He was supposedly in the process of being ferried into Islamic State territory by the two. Continue reading

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Larger Designs

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A very unexpected piece of news emerged from the Paris attacks investigation on the 17th. The Belgian daily La Dernière Heure reported that Belgian investigators carrying out house searches in December discovered several hours (ten actually) of surveillance video. Authorities were ultimately unable to determine the date it was taken, but were able to identify the house being surveilled. It belonged to a senior Belgian nuclear official who had access to secure areas of a nuclear research facility in Mol. Continue reading

Spiegel Gives More Detail on Salzburg Suspects’ Identities and Travel

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Mohammad G. A. and Adel H.

The day after writing my Cold Comfort article reporting on the new information revealed in Bild am Sonntag (BamS) about the two IS suspects arrested in Salzburg, Spiegel Online ran with an article giving firmer information on the matter. A whole series of aliases for the two were provided as well as details about their travel over the Balkan route.  Furthermore, the article gave some insight into the thinking of officials and analysts and how it’s evolved in light of what happened in Paris. Continue reading

Cold Comfort

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A few more details have emerged about the Salzburg IS suspects that I wrote about
yesterday. Bild am Sonntag (BamS) is reporting that the “foreign intelligence service,”
which provided the Austrians with information about the pair was Germany’s Federal
Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesverfassungsschutz). Furthermore,
they reported that the European border control agency FRONTEX recognized the false
passports the two were using and held them for weeks from continuing on their trip.
Thus, they were not able to take part in the Paris attacks in November. This sounds
interesting, but a number of things do not compute when you think about it. Continue reading

Islamic State Operatives in Salzburg

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LeParisien revealed important new details on February 13 related to the arrest of two suspected Islamic State associates in Salzburg, Austria.  The two were arrested on the weekend of December 12-13, 2015.  Few details were given at the time and some of those turned out to be wrong.  At first the two were described as possibly French citizens, but that was quickly corrected.  In fact, neither of the two males were from Europe at all—one was a 28-year-old from Algeria and the other a 34-year-old from Pakistan.  They had entered Greece as Syrian refugees and made their way to Austria via the Balkan route.  They were arrested living in the refugee center in the old Autobahnmeisterei on Münchner Bundestrasse 54.  Authorities indicated that the two possibly had connection to the attacks in Paris the month before. Continue reading

Another “Refugee” Arrested in Germany

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“Bassam” with fellow refugees in Sankt Johann

For the second time in a week, German police arrested an alleged terrorist posing as a refugee.  This time the authorities were alerted by Spiegel Online (Spiegel TV) who were conducting an investigation based on allegations by Syrian activists.

A young man named “Bassam” was tracked down to the village of Sankt Johann in the district of Mainz-Bingen (Verbandsgemeinde Sprendlingen-Gensingen).  He arrived on 12/17/2015 with three other Syrians whom he met at the initial reception center in Trier. Continue reading

What’s Past is Prologue: The Case of Mirsad Bektašević and the Bosnian Cell

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Bektasevic, Ikanovic, and Cesur during their trial

I’m a great believer in the value of “taking back-bearings,” a phrase I picked up reading the exploits of George Smiley.  Normally this means something like determining one’s current position by relating it to known points visible to the observer and easily identified on a map.  In my case, I mean looking back at previous events, incidents, and cases to help understand the present, and often, the mistakes made in past responses that helped contribute to it.

I’d like to do that in this article by taking a look back at one of the first high-profile (at least in terrorism circles) cases involving the online radicalization of young men leading to terrorist plots in their own countries.  On October 19, 2005, Bosnian police arrested two young men at an apartment in the Butmir district of Sarajevo following an 8-month operation involving the secret services of 9 different countries.  The two, a young Swede born in Novi Pazar, Serbia, named Mirsad Bektašević and a Dutch-Turk named Abdulkadir Cesur were caught red-handed with an arsenal of explosives and guns.  The police also discovered a video of the culprits expressing their intent to strike at those governments involved in the oppression of their Muslim brethren in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Iraq.  Their strike was probably going to be against the British Embassy in Sarajevo. Continue reading

Update to Terror Arrests in Germany

The 35-year old man in Attendorn is identified as Farid A., aka Abu al-Jarah al-Jazairi.  Security experts say that Farid has been spotted in pictures with a high-level Islamic State functionary who is said to have directed the local commander of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.  Other pictures show him in a corpse-strewn scene somewhere in Syria and surrounded by weapons like the one below.

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Farid A., aka Abu al-Jarah al-Jazairi

 

Continue reading

Raids Net Algerians from Syria Living in Germany (And One of Them Claims to be French)

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Arrest in Berlin

German police launched raids at multiple locations across the country in the early morning hours of February 4.  According to authorities, the targets were part of an IS-terror cell plotting to attack locations in Berlin, potentially at Alexanderplatz and ‘Checkpoint Charlie,’ according to telephone conversations overheard by security organs [the investigation team is known as Ermittlungsgruppe “Frost”].  Five suspects were arrested, but only three remained in custody.  All five were of Algerian origin. Continue reading