Key Islamic State recruiter in Germany sentenced to ten years in prison
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- Abu Walaa Abu Walaa is a 37-year-old Iraqi citizen and notorious preacher of...[+]
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The Iraqi head of an ISIS network in Germany was sentenced to jail for ten and a half years for his role in recruiting youngsters at his mosque to send to Syria.
Abu Walaa, an imam known as the “faceless preacher” because of his appearance in online videos with his back to the camera, had a following of thousands on Facebook and recruited vulnerable people to the ISIS cause.
Abu Walaa, named in court as Ahmad Abdulaziz Abdullah A, recruited at least seven people who travelled to the Middle East where they fought alongside ISIS militants.
They included two who died during separate suicide bomb attacks on Iraqi Army positions in 2015 which killed more than 150 soldiers.
He preached at a mosque in Hildesheim, outside of the northern city of Hanover, where he was arrested in 2016 during a series of co-ordinated police raids.
He was held with four other suspects in 2016 in what then-justice minister Heiko Maas described as an “important blow to the extremist scene in Germany”. The mosque was later closed down.
Abu Walaa is believed to have spoken at a Berlin mosque frequented by Anis Amri, a Tunisian who drove a truck through a crowded Christmas market in the city in 2016, killing 12 people and injuring more than 50.
Amri was pictured by German intelligence offficials visiting Hildesheim 10 months before the attack, prompting speculation that he was part of the Abu Walaa network.
Walaa, 37, was found guilty of membership of a foreign terrorist organisation, financing terrorism and aiding the preparation of subversive events, said the higher regional court of Celle, northern Germany.
Three other men were given sentences of between four and eight years. Another man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to jail for three and a half years in April last year.
Source: The National News