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Netherlands: Terror Busts in Netherlands and Germany

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Below is an article from today’s Dutch daily, Algemeen Dagblad, reporting on the arrests and prosecution of several Central Asians who posed as war refugees from Ukraine, but who were planning to carry out an attack in either Germany or the Netherlands on behalf of ISIS. Seven are in custody in Germany and two in the Netherlands.

The article is translated from Dutch by Fousesquawk.

Caption: One of the arrested suspects after his arrest in July in Germany is brought to court in Karlsruhe by police officers.

Public Prosecutor: “Tajik was no refugee from Ukraine, but determined to commit an attack in Netherlands or Germany”.

There was not yet a date or target, but Abdulsamal A., (29) from Tajikistan was “determined to commit an attack in the Netherlands or Germany. He posed as a refugee from Ukraine but in reality, was head of a secret cell of the ISIS terror group,” according to the Public Prosecuor’s Office.

Cyril Rosman, 9-26-23, 17:11. Latest update: 17:18.

Abdusamal himself said on Tuesday, at an interim hearing in the case at the court in Rotterdam that there was little truth to this. The man-slender, muscular, and (with) a thick, black beard-laid his head down on his arms in anger. His wife and co-suspect asked the court if she, “could please go home to her children”. 

The story of the Tajik, Abdusamal, and his 31-year-old wife, Gulzira M., is (unusual). According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, A. initially went from Turkey to Syria to join ISIS, but that failed. The Turks deported him to Ukraine, after which he came from Kiev to the Netherlands together with his wife after the outbreak of the war there. Here he posed as a member of a Tajiki resistance group, was granted asylum in 2022, and moved into housing in Breda.

Report from secret service

In March of this year, the secret service, AIVD, sent a report to the police that A. was looking for money to buy weapons. Small pistols for a group of “brothers” in Germany who would reportedly use them to commit an “attack for Allah”. The police sent in an infiltrator and eavesdropped on him. On July 6, he and his wife were arrested. In Germany, at the same time, seven men were arrested from Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan. They also “fled” from Ukraine and traveled to Germany.

According to (the prosecution), A. was the head of a secret cell in Kiev of the ISKP, the Asian branch of the ISIS terror group. His task was reportedly to plan an attack in Europe. (What is) striking about this claim: Part of it is based on information in 2019 from the Russian intelligence service, FSB. The same FSB that the Dutch security services have been at odds with in recent years. Nevertheless, the Prosecutor’s Office maintains that A. and the German (based) suspects “were determined to commit an attack in the Netherlands or Germany.” As far as is known, there was as yet, no date or target.

Telegram group “Martyrs of Islam”

A.’s wife, Gulzira, is also reportedly a radical and helped the men. She was in the message service, Telegram, as “Martyrs for Islam” and had on her phone a document explaining how to cause explosions.

The suspects arrested in Germany are all still in custody. According to the German BILD (news), the Tajiks reportedly claimed to be war refugees from Ukraine, for which they used forged documents. One of the suspects was being housed in a refugee center.

The terror cell reportedly was in contact with the so-called Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP). This branch of ISIS is active in South and Central Asia, mainly in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The German (based) suspects had explored potential sites for an attack and were in possession of weapons, German prosecutors say. Most of them also collected money for the ISKP. 

“ISKP sends people to Europe

The Dutch National Coordinator for Combating Terror and Security (NCTV) writes in her threat assessment for May: “ISIS-followers are residing in Europe and the Netherlands who are part of transnational networks. They have the intention to commit attacks in Europe. Moreover, ISIS is probably in a position to send people to Europe and from a distance, support followers in preparing attacks.” 

The service also explicitly points to ISKP.  “There is a growing terrorist threat from this ISIS branch directed at the West and its interests. Attack plans in February 2023 against, among others, the Dutch consulate in Istanbul, possibly as revenge for the destruction of Korans in the Netherlands and Sweden, underline this threat.”

According to Attorney for A., Buruma, the case is currently based mainly on “unverifiable intelligence sources”. “And sometimes overheard conversations sound more serious than they are. When it comes to ‘jobs’, that can sound serious in a terror investigation, but here it was about plastering and laying floors.”

For the time being, the two suspects remain in custody. The trial resumes in three months.


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