A suspected ISIS commander posing as a refugee existed under the radar of German intelligence agencies until reporters tipped them off.
Two anti-terror raids in the rural town of Sankt Johann were conducted over the weekend after an investigative report by Spiegel TV turned up “Bassam” – a man other refugees say is a notorious officer for ISIS.
Multiple sources told the newspaper during its investigation that Bassam, 32, once fought in the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front before ending up an ISIS officer. He was allegedly captured by the Free Syrian Army last summer during an attempt to cross into Turkey with thousands of dollars in cash, but then released after 20 days in custody for unknown reasons.
“I want to learn German and work as a cook,” Bassam told Spiegel TV for its report. He said allegations he is an Islamic terrorist are “lies.”
The newspaper said Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, BfV, was initially unaware of Bassam’s suspected links to the Sunni terrorist group. Two men were taken into custody during the weekend raids.
Prosecutors’ office spokesman Michael Neuhaus said there were “no immediate indications that a concrete attack was planned,” Breitbart London reported Tuesday.
Germany’s latest anti-terror operations come just one week after two Algerian migrants were arrested in Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia. Two others were questioned in Berlin and Hanover but not formally taken into custody.
“We have repeatedly seen that terrorists … have slipped in camouflaged or disguised as refugees. This is a fact that the security agencies are facing,” BfV head Hans-Georg Maassen told ZDF television last Friday, WND reported. “We are trying to recognize and identify whether there are still more ISIS fighters or terrorists from ISIS that have slipped in.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel was crowned Time magazine’s 2015 “Person of the Year” on Dec. 9, 2015, for her willingness to welcome 1.1 million migrants into Germany.
“For asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply, Angela Merkel is Time’s Person of the Year,” Nancy Gibbs, Time’s managing editor, wrote, WND reported at the time.
Merkel was given plaudits from the press, but German citizens received a wave of sexual assaults in Cologne, Bielefeld, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Stuttgart on New Year’s Eve.
Hans-Georg Maasen, a German federal police chief, estimated in late November 2015 that roughly 8,000 terrorists from Syria and Iraq were “blending in with the migrants” and planning “combat missions,” WND reported.
Merkel has responded to the ensuing chaos by vowing to send migrants back to the Middle East once Syria’s civil war ends and ISIS is thwarted in Iraq.
“We need to say … once there is peace in Syria again, once ISIS has been defeated in Iraq, that you go back to your home country with the knowledge that you have gained,” Merkel told a regional meeting of her Christian Democratic Union in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on Jan. 30, Reuters reported.