Man suspected of supporting the Islamic State terrorist group deported from Poland
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A 61-year-old Lebanese man detained in April at the request of the Internal Security Agency (ABW) has been deported to Lebanon, the press officer of the Minister-Special Services Coordinator, Stanislaw Żaryn, told the Polish Press Agency (PAP).
Mr Żaryn told PAP on Monday that the Lebanese man had been deported in mid-October having been detained in April by the Border Guard further to a decision by the Ministry of Interior requested by the head of the ABW.
The deportation decision obliged him to return to his country of origin and imposed a five-year ban on entering Poland or other countries of the EU’s passport-free Schengen Area.
The special services minister’s press officer said that it had been established on the basis of evidence gathered by the ABW that the man had planned to organise a network with the intention of committing terrorist attacks in Western European countries. This network would have been organised in Poland and other EU countries.
“During the whole period of his stay in Poland, until the moment of his detention, the Lebanese man was in constant contact with structures of Islamic State (IS), using the internet as a means of communication,” Mr Żaryn told PAP.
The deported man is also believed to have communicated with people related to IS present in EU member states and to have financially supported IS members in Syria, according to the ABW.
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has been strongly reliant on its European networks in organising and carrying out terrorist attacks. Such networks often consisted of European states’ nationals both of Middle Eastern and European origin.
One such network stood behind the November 13, 2015, Paris attacks, where a group dominated by European citizens, namely French and Belgian of Middle Eastern origin, committed three suicide bombings outside the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, during a football match.
This was followed by several mass shootings and a suicide bombing, at cafés and restaurants. Gunmen carried out another mass shooting and took hostages at an Eagles of Death Metal concert in the Bataclan theatre, leading to a stand-off with police. The attackers were either shot or blew themselves up when police raided the theatre.
It became clear later that the Paris attack was coordinated by the Brussels IS jihadist cell that stood behind the March 2016 Brussels attacks at the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one at Maalbeek metro station in central Brussels. Abdelhamid Abaaoud (Belgian-Moroccan) and Salah Abdeslam (Belgian-born French national of Moroccan descent) were the main cogs in the Brussels cell of terror.
As regards the Brussels attack itself, here, as well, European nationals of Middle Eastern descent were pulling the trigger, namely Bilal Hadfi (a 20-year-old French citizen), the aforementioned Abdelhamid Abaaoud (Belgian-Moroccan), Brahim Abdeslam (a 31-year-old French), Chakib Akrouh (a 25-year-old Belgian citizen of Moroccan descent), Samy Amimour (a 28-year-old French citizen from Paris), Omar Ismail Mostefai (a 29-year-old French citizen of Algerian descent), Foued Mohamed-Aggad (a 23-year-old French citizen of Moroccan descent).
The identity of the other two perpetrators was presumed to be Syrian and Iraqi.
The fact that a Lebanese man was trying to plant a network of IS operatives in Europe should not come as a surprise. Consisting of cells (khaliya خلية) numbering five to 12 members, jihadist networks provide their operatives with valuable contacts, access to resources, arms and armaments, escape routes, a host of retainers and sympathisers, accommodation and so forth.
Polish law enforcement has been rather active in 2020 thwarting IS attempts to set up shop in the country. In late June, Poland’s Internal Security Agency (ABW) detained two Iraqi men over suspicions of financing the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist organisation.
In May, the ABW managed to break down an IS cell of four and an operative with close ties to Al-Qaeda, the older sibling of a rival terrorist organisation to the IS. Three individuals detained were of Tajik origin, their goal to recruit volunteers in Poland to join structures which were connected to ISIS.
Source: Poland In