Tuesday 25 October 2016

Paul Williams: Alleged Isil facilitator has been kept under close garda surveillance here for at least the past three years

Paul Williams

Published 29/12/2015 | 02:30

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The suspected Isil supporter who is deemed to pose a threat to national security has been under surveillance by gardaí for at least three years.

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In November, an Irish Independent investigation revealed how the foreign national had been identified by gardaí and international security agencies as the leader of an Irish-based network providing logistical support for Isil fighters travelling to Syria and Iraq.

The alleged Isil facilitator provides cash and false documents including Irish passports which were obtained in this country.

He is also suspected of being involved in recruiting radicalised Muslim men from Ireland, the UK and Europe for the Islamic terror group responsible for the Paris atrocities in January and November.

Security sources say the Isil suspect, who is officially unemployed and in receipt of social welfare payments, leads a small group consisting of no more than 13 individuals, most of whom came to this country as political refugees. The members of the group have addresses in Dublin, Kildare, Louth and Longford and meet for prayers at a makeshift mosque outside Dublin.

It is understood that the security services have identified several suspicious cash transfers from this country to accounts in other European banks.

International intelligence services, working closely with the gardaí, believe that the money was then distributed for use by Isil fighters. The High Court was told that the man had withdrawn a previous application for refugee status but re-applied earlier this year. The Irish Independent revealed that the suspect jihadist claimed he could not be deported under normal emigration procedures because he claims to be the sole guardian of his youngest son. The teenager, who was born in Ireland, returned from the Middle East to live with his father in Dublin shortly after his father's residency was refused last January. The boy is still in secondary school and regularly attends prayers with his father at the temporary mosque outside Dublin where other members of the group have been spotted.

Sources revealed that in the event that he loses his challenge to the deportation order, the suspect will argue he cannot be deported under existing EU law because he is the sole guardian of an Irish citizen.

The suspected jihadist is one of the top targets of the specialist garda unit, Counter Terrorism International (CTI). He is also classified as a major terrorist figure by international counter-terrorism agencies for his long association with extremist Muslim terror groups including al-Qa'ida.

It is understood that he was shot and injured while fighting alongside Muslim extremists in the Chechnyan and Bosnian wars during the early 1990s. And three years ago another son, who grew up in the Middle East, was accidentally shot dead while training to be an Isil fighter in Yemen.

Intelligence sources have also revealed that the movements of the group are closely monitored and they enjoy "very little if any" support from the Muslim community here.

A security source told the Irish Independent that while the man does not pose a direct terrorist threat to this country, the Isil terrorists he helps to recruit do.

"This individual and his group are facilitating people to travel out there to train and fight in the war where they are radicalised further. The big concern is what happens when they return to Europe," the source added.

Irish Independent

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