Cells, plots, and threats of violence from unstable teens and twenty-somethings continue to issue forth on a near-daily basis in the highways and byways of Western Europe. Here are three vignettes of the “new normal” from just this week.
Madani and the Jumet Network
A fascinating intersection of French-speaking jihadi cells came to light on Wednesday when RTL reported that the recently arrested Ines Madani was connected to the Jumet network, which authorities began dismantling at the end of last January. I’ve written a couple articles, one in May and one in June, on this network. In the first, I mentioned an April RTL report, which revealed that conspirators Albin Mbesse and Bilal Mejdoubi had taken the train from Brussels to Paris in order to “meet with smugglers” and arrange Bilal’s “marriage” in Syria.
We don’t know the full extent of their activities in Paris, but we are now being told that Mbesse and Mejdoubi met with Madani on January 5, 2016. We were already told on September 9 that Madani was known to Belgian intelligence for recruiting and helping send aspiring jihadis to Syria. So now we have a real-life example to which to tie that allegation.
More Fake Refugees in Germany
Three Syrian “refugees” were arrested in the early morning hours of Tuesday, September 13, in Germany in connection with the Paris attacks of November 13, 2015. All three lived within half an hour of each other in the Stormarn district of Schleswig-Holstein.
17-year-old Mahir Al-H. of Am Zuschlag 15 in Reinfeld bei Lübeck is alleged to have been in Raqqa as late as September 2015, where he received training with weapons and explosives. He left Syria in October on orders from the Islamic State along with Ibrahim M. (18—residing in Großhansdorf) and Mohamed A. (26—residing in Ahrensburg), each outfitted with fraudulent passports, thousands of dollars, and cell phones with special communications programs installed.
The authorities do not have evidence of any specific plot in which the men are involved, but they do believe there is a strong possibility that they may have been part of a larger sleeper cell. The men came up through the same Balkan route in November 2015 as the other attackers. Their fraudulent documents were produced by the same workshop as the ones possessed by the Paris attackers. Interior Minister de Maizière said that the men had been under observation for several months before their arrests this week.
Not one, but two 15-year-olds, as well as another minor under the age of 15 were arrested in Paris over the past week (one in Rueil-Malmaison (Hauts-de-Seine), one at 13 rue Villiot in the XII Arrondissement, and the last in the XX Arrondissement). They all seem to be in contact with the notorious Rachid Kassim, whose hand seems to be behind every successful attack and foiled plot in the country of late. The stories seem to run together due to their similarities—a young man, already known to authorities, is stopped on the verge of committing some heinous attack with a knife on random innocents. This goes to the issue I raised with my last post. While the thought of such young people being roped into this death cult is appalling, the fact that they are so young and inexperienced means that the sophistication and professionalism of the group’s efforts in the country are in steep decline.
Is this just an interlude, or does it mirror the fortunes of the group on its own rapidly shrinking territory?