Saturday 21 September 2019

Terror cell blow as Isil 'passport forger' held on Dublin in global crackdown

Photo: Stock picture
Photo: Stock picture

Cathal McMahon

A man suspected of producing false documentation and passports for Isil fighters has been arrested in Dublin as part of a global operation into terrorist cells.

The Algerian national, who is aged in his 40s, was arrested in Drumcondra yesterday morning as part of an overseas investigation into support cells for jihadi activists.

He was being questioned at a station in north city Dublin under anti-terrorist laws introduced here in 2015, which created three new crimes of publicly provoking an act of terrorism, helping recruit terrorists and training them.

Gardai confirmed that the man was released last night and a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Irish Independent has learned that documentation was discovered during a separate search in Greece in recent days. These papers disclosed the possible involvement of a Dublin link to support cells.

Officers from the London Metropolitan Police, who are spearheading the overall investigation, then contacted gardaí in Dublin and sought their assistance.

Early yesterday morning, armed officers from the Garda Special Detective Unit (SDU) raided two properties in South Dublin and a dwelling in Drumcondra. They arrested the suspect at the North Dublin address.

Police enquiries are focusing on the activities of suspected sympathisers, who use the internet and other means, to provide assistance that could lead to terrorist acts.

The man was being held for questioning last night under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984, which allowed gardaí to detain him without charge for up to 24 hours, excluding rest periods.

In a statement, released yesterday afternoon, gardaí said the search was carried out as part of "ongoing investigations targeting the possession of fraudulent documents".

A spokesman for the London Metropolitan Police said: "We are aware of the arrest and are liaising with the Garda.

"We are unable to discuss further for operational reasons."

It is believed that documentation and a computer was seized during yesterday's searches.

All of the seized items will now be examined forensically to determine if they are evidence of a link to terrorism.

Gardaí said the operation was not directly linked to any jihadi attack in the UK - but was part of wider enquiries into terrorist sympathisers.

Eight people were murdered when three terrorists ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge before launching a knife attack in Borough Market on the night of June 3.

All three were shot dead by police in a hail of gunfire eight minutes after the first 999 call.

One attacker, Rachid Redouane, lived in Rathmines, south Dublin, as recently as the end of 2016.

It is believed that Redouane was carrying an Irish identity card at the time of the attack.

In the aftermath of the attack, raids were carried out in Limerick and Wexford after documentation connected to Redouane was tracked by gardaí.

Irish Independent

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