The German press announced a series of raids on Wednesday, February 8, aimed at two Algerian brothers, ages 32 and 39. These brothers are accused of funneling money and material to Jabhat al-Nusrah and its variant organizations for years through the non-profit organization Medizin mit Herz, which sits in Hennef by Bonn. Authorities have been aware of the group for some time and keep it under observation due to its known ties to the local Salafist scene.
Why the press decided to keep the identities of the brothers concealed is a mystery in itself, as they have been reported on and discussed often enough in the past: Brahim (39) and Mohamed Belkaid (32). Brahim is the better known of the two as Abu Abdullah, a Salafist preacher known to go around with other stars of the scene like Said El Emrani (Abu Dujana) and Abdellatif Rouali. He moves among the network of radicals associated with Ibrahim Abou-Nagie and the Lies! movement. Now according to Interior Minister Ralf Jäger, It’s about securing evidence and finding out from where the money comes.
To find out where the money comes from, it helps to start looking in the places where the authorities themselves are searching. In this case the raids took place in Troisdorf, Sankt Augustin, Königswinter-Rauschendorf and Leicester. The city in the UK naturally jumped out at me because I’ve seen similar associations between the Brussels scene and Birmingham, so I started there, and I was truly taken aback by what I found. A handful of businesses out of a few addresses are operated by mostly German nationals, some of whom continue to do business in the very places in Germany where the raids took place. It appears to begin in 2012, but picks up steam beginning in 2014. The majority of the activity is centered in autos, auto parts, and auto accessories. You will recognize the names of some of these business owners as I go through them.
First things first. Brahim Belkaid himself operates a business known as Auto Noble Ltd, which began operations on January 20, 2014. This company is located at 24 Westminster Road in Stoneygate Leicester, a nice 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom family home. Documentation gives Belkaid’s date of birth as December 15, 1977, making this individual the proper age for the Brahim Belkaid in question. There seems to be little else to be discovered about this particular business, except for the fact that others are running businesses out of the same address at the same time. And thus begins the recursive search.
Another individual operating from 24 Westminster Road is Hakan Baltürk. Baltürk ran Hakan Import & Export Ltd from here for the period October 31, 2014 to April 19, 2016, before it was compulsorily dissolved.
There are two others I found mentioned in connection with this address and each takes one down a separate rabbit hole, so bear with me.
The first is Aissa Belkaid, described as a French businessman and born possibly on September 1, 1982. In my experience this is a woman’s name, but maybe someone can enlighten me as to whether a man can have this name, too. Aissa has operated two businesses from here: Euro Salvage Car & Parts Ltd and Drive Fast Limited. Euro Salvage began opeations on April 2, 2015 but was compulsorily dissolved on September 20, 2016. Drive Fast began on Christmas Eve 2015 and continues to operate. It has undergone a change of address on August 22, 2016to 54 Conduit Street, a brick warehouse building a short walk from the Leicester Islamic Center in what looks like an industrial part of town.
One will find that Aissa Belkaid’s name is associated with many Ebay postings through the Drive Fast Ebay store, and these postings give us other addresses and contact information. The first address is 85 Earl Howe Street in Leicester, possibly a rental property since it seems to have had different residents but not changed owners since 2008. A German national named Michael Gabriel Becker is currently operating a business from this location known as Intertrucks Ltd since July 22, 2016. An individual by this same name is associated to the Autohaus Spich at Luxemburger Straße 36 in Troisdorf! The second address given with Belkaid’s listings is Am Bahnhof 21 in Sankt Augustin, just south of Troisdorf. It doesn’t take long to discover that this little warehouse address is associated with Medizin Ohne Grenzen, an earlier name for Medizin mit Herz. This is about an unambiguous connection as one could ask for.
Now for the other rabbit hole. The last person operating out of 24 Westminster Road is a departure from our previous autos and auto parts businesses, but no less involved, I believe, in this radical Salafist propaganda movement. A woman named Ibtisam Bouchuari (April 16, 1985) began operating a business on August 10, 2015, named Constellation Business Ltd, which eventually changed its name to Greenman Foods Ltd. It voluntarily dissolved on January 17 of this year, but it always had an office address of 18 Linden Drive in Leicester. Once again this is not a business location proper, but a 5-bedroom detached residence, seemingly last for sale in 2014. I was able to derive two other businesses operating out of here in the past year as well as two other businesses belonging to Bouchuari running from a third address: 8 Ashtree Road.
The first of Bouchuari’s other organizations seems to be a successor organization to Greenman Food started on October 6 of last year known initially as Superfood Magic Ltd but now functioning under the name Puritude Ltd. The second business at the Ashtree Road address is an IT company called Clickit Online & Business Solutions Ltd. Whois records for the Puritude website show that the site was registered by the Clickit business and gives the registrant’s name as Omar Youssef*. Looking at Puritude’s Facebook site, Youssef is the only one who has given a review. I cannot establish any relationship between Youssef and Bouchuari beyond the business relationship, but I tend to think there is one and that the Clickit business is really Youssef’s and not Bouchuari’s. It’s quite easy to find out about Mr. Youssef, but Bouchuari is a black hole. Without the information coming from the corporate listings, she is simply invisible.
Coming back to the 18 Linden Drive address, there are two other individuals linked to it who will be known to those who track the Salafist scene in Germany. The first is Ibrahim Abou-Nagie (June 6, 1964). I won’t spend time talking about him, because if you follow this topic, you already know who he is, and if you don’t it’s easy enough to bring up a mountain of material on him. Suffice it to say that someone so well known in Germany for his radical proselytization could establish an organization to do exactly the same thing in the UK without any trouble, as if the UK doesn’t have enough problems with that from within its own borders. Abou-Nagie began operations on September 9, 2015 under the name of Readlies Ltd, and moved to 2-6 Britannia Street by November 16 of last year. It has received its first notice of compulsory dissolution on January 3.
The last individual requires one to reach further back into the databank to remember him. He comes from Neu-Ulm in Germany and seems to be the pioneer with respect to this little German outcropping in Leicester. Ranie Mansour (born May 14, 1982, with occupation bookbinder) and his partner Nassim Mansour (born June 20, 1985 with occupation postal worker) opened Autohandel Mansour Ltd on January 18, 2012. They were both listed at Messerschmitt Straße 16 in Neu-Ulm with their activities in the UK handled by a firm in West Yorkshire. By July of that year, Nassim was off the books and the whole thing became the provenance of Ranie, who gave a new address in Krumbach, a town southeast of Ulm. On February 5, 2013, he moved the registered office to 11 Eden Close in Oadby Leicester and has kept his business activities in Leicester there ever since, indicating that he had moved his usual residence to the UK . He had the company name changed to Auto Mansour 1 Ltd in December 2015, but about a year later the first notice for compulsory dissolution appeared.
No worries. Only a few days after he changed his original company name from Autohandel Mansour Ltd to Auto Mansour 1 Ltd, he started another company under the old name which he promptly registered to the 18 Linden Drive address. It seems to operating without issue.
In June 2013 he was also a founding director of a company with another Brit and a Hungarian called Fruit Paradise Ltd. By February 2015, the other two directors had been terminated leaving the company all to Ranie Mansour, sort of like his first Leicester company. It continued to operate until it was dissolved on August 23, 2016.
Both Mansours have auto related businesses back in Ulm. Ranie and someone named Daniel Muziaji had/have a company called Autohandel Technik Motoren (ATM) on Albrecht-Berbingler Straße 13. I couldn’t discover much about this, and it may be a holdover from something that existed years ago. One document I read described a Daniel M. as a director of the Ulm Islamisches Informationszentrum (IIZ). This could be Muziaji.
More important is what Ranie Mansour is known for in Neu-Ulm that has nothing to do with cars. News reports back in late 2005 and early 2006 speak of Mansour as the Deputy Chairman of the radical Multikulturhaus (MKH) in the city. The MKH and the IIZ across the river in Ulm served as centers of radical Islamist activity in Germany before the forced closure of MKH in 2005 and the voluntary closure of the IIZ in 2007. Mansour was on the radar of investigators multiple times for his ties to members of the Sauerland-Group, and the so-called “Yousif Group” engaged in funneling potential foreign fighters through the Qortoba Institute (language school) in Alexandria, Egypt. According to a 2012 article, Mansour finally got fed up and moved his automotive business to England.
They Just Can’t Help Themselves
When I look at all of this, I can’t help but think three things.
- These guys apparently do not fear attracting the attention of the authorities. Each knows his own and his friends’ past history with law enforcement, and yet they don’t seem to make an effort to avoid linking themselves to one another in official ways.
- If I were the authorities in the UK, why would I allow people engaged in such activities to set up shop in my country? Wouldn’t alarm bells start going off when they show up in the same city, share the same addresses, and open multiple businesses?
- What if the general public knew? Do you think they would put up with it? It’d be nice to know, but it’s not easy for the public to figure out that the Ranie Mansour selling car parts in its town is the same Rani M. who rubbed shoulders with Fritz Gelowicz and Attila Selek while they were plotting to attack American targets on German soil and the same Rani M. who the German authorities attempted to prosecute for participating in a scheme to send young Germans over to jihadist combat zones.
Let’s hope that German and British law enforcement pursue their investigation of the Belkaids to its utmost ends. Let’s hope that “teachers” like Abou-Nagie are sent packing and required to do something productive for a living instead of living off the proceeds of others and poisoning the weak-minded. Let’s hope that anyone who might be funneling portions of legitimate businesses to fund the war in Syria is stopped cold in his tracks.
*ADDENDUM: Sometimes I can be dense and this is one of those times. Somehow it did not occur to me as I was initially writing that Omar Youssef is most likely the Omar Yousif of old German press reporting–the son of Yehia Yousif, the “Sheikh Abu Omar” of Ulm’s IIZ before he fled to Saudi Arabia to avoid possible prosecution. Omar is believed to have trained with LeT as a young man before being deported to Egypt in 2006. From there he is alleged to have helped handle some of the men being sent to the Qortoba Institute from Germany.
My evidence is circumstantial, but I think it’s quite solid. The Omar Youssef handling Bouchuari’s IT work is from Freibug. Yehia Yousif began his time in Germany in 1988 and received his Doctorate in Medicine from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg in 1994. Youssef shuttles back and forth between Leicester and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he appears to work for the Saudi German Hospital. After fleeing to Saudia Arabia, Yehia turned up in Jeddah working for the Batterjee Medical College. Some of the members of Youssef’s social network come from Ulm. Furthermore, his profile includes a photo album from 2011 entitled, “We will not forget,” and includes a handful of pictures of the closure of the IIZ and the German authorities raid of the MKH.