European law enforcement agencies arrested 13 terror suspects with ties to ISIS Thursday during simultaneous raids in six countries.
The terror suspects are leaders and members of Rawti Shax, a Kurdish-Sunni terror ring, who were allegedly willing to become suicide bombers and were allegedly plotting a kidnapping attempt on Norwegian diplomats.
The European Union’s judicial cooperation unit, Eurojust, which has been investigating Rawti Shax for years, said it has close relations with ISIS, and has been providing logistical and financial support to recruited terrorists. The group’s primary objective is to overthrow the Kurdish-Iraqi government and replace it with one governed by Sharia law.
The arrests were made in Italy, Norway and the UK, reported the Guardian. Raids in Switzerland, Finland and Germany did not result in any arrests, but authorities were able to obtain important documents and electronic data on the group’s operations.
The leader of the group is believed to be Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, commonly known as Mullah Krekar, who has been running the ring from prison in Norway where he has lived since 1991. Krekar is a recognized terrorist by the United States and the UN.
He has served several prison sentences in Norway after making death threats to the Prime Minister and plotting terrorist attacks in the country. Norway has been unsuccessful in deporting Ahmad because of the risk that he may be executed upon return to his native Iraq.
Angelino Alfano, Italy’s interior minister, said the country has invested more resources in preventing terrorism as the threat continues to rise. (RELATED: Italy Arrests ISIS Terrorist Disguised As Refugee)
“We are a country exposed to the international risk of terrorism because we are part of that great international coalition that is opposed to the caliphate,” he said when asked about the arrests.
Europol estimates that between 3,000 and 5,000 EU citizens have joined Al-Qaida and ISIS.
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