German Police Raid Two Addresses After ‘ISIS Commander’ Living There as a Refugee Gives a TV Interview
Simon Tomlinson, Daily Mail, February 9, 2016
Police carried out anti-terror raids in a German village after a TV station interviewed a refugee suspected of being an ISIS commander.
Officers searched the homes of two men living in migrant housing in Sankt Johann, near the western city of Mainz, after they were accused of being part of an extremist organisation.
It came after Spiegel TV reported that it had tracked down one of the men, a 32-year-old Syrian which it claimed was an former ISIS commander.
The suspect, named only as Bassam, allegedly fought with ISIS in the eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor before leaving via Turkey and claiming asylum in Germany.
Bassam is said to have fought with Islamist militias battling the Syrian government as part of the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front before joining the ranks of ISIS, it was reported by Breitbart which cited the Speigel TV report.
He had initially wanted to be a suicide bomber, but his brother secured him an officer role through his position as a sharia judge, the news station claimed.
He was reportedly captured by Free Syrian Army soldiers at a checkpoint near Aleppo last summer after intelligence that he was fleeing Syria with tens of thousands of dollars in cash.
He was released 20 days later with a mobile phone memory card containing ISIS propaganda but without his cash. It is not known why.
It was reported that German security services were unaware of his presence in Germany since last autumn until the Spiegel interview.
Federal prosecutors declined to confirm those details.
Spokesman Michael Neuhaus said only that the two men are ‘suspected of taking part in the Syrian civil war as members of a foreign terrorist organisation’.
He declined to provide further details, including whether the men had been arrested, citing the ongoing investigation.
Last week, German police conducted raids in Berlin and across western Germany against four Algerian men suspected of having ties to ISIS and plotting an attack in Berlin.
One of the men had registered in Germany as a Syrian refugee, police said.