Middle East

European police arrest string of aspiring jihadists

Free Syrian Army fighters stand at a former base used by fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), after the ISIL withdrew from the town of Azaz, near the Syrian-Turkish border, March 11, 2014. (REUTERS/Hamid Khatib)

BEIRUT: Police working on separate operations in three European countries have arrested 19 people suspected of involvement in the Syrian war, officials said Tuesday.

Three British men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offences. Two men from Manchester, aged 29 and 18, as well as a 21-year-old woman from Trafford and a 29-year-old man from Oxford are in custody.

One of the men arrested in Manchester is the brother of Mohammad Azzam Javeed, who is missing in Syria, after having traveled there in the fall.

Albanian police arrested seven people, including two Muslim preachers, on charges of recruiting followers to fight in Syria, and seized a cache of bullets and weapons.

The Serious Crimes Court has issued arrest warrants for six other people on the same charges, a local prosecutor said.

He said the two imams were suspected of trying “actively to indoctrinate various persons with radical ideologies to fight later as members of organizations blacklisted by the United Nations,” without specifying the groups in question.

The seven suspects face charges of “recruiting persons to commit terrorist acts” and the “incitement of hatred or quarrels between nations, races and religions.”

The prosecutor said weapons and other items were found in the mosque where one of the imams preached, as well as in the home of another member of the group.

In Paris, prosecutors said seven men and a woman have been arrested in France on suspicion of planning to join radical Islamic groups fighting in Syria.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 12, 2014, on page 8.




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