An Islamic State-affiliated terror cell is believed to have set up shop in several German states.
An ISIS defector identified as Saleh A. turned himself in at a French police station in February. He has since shared intel about a previously unknown ISIS cell that planned attacks in the German city of Dusseldorf.
Police arrested three Syrian nationals June 2 after raids in multiple states. An official familiar with the investigation told The Wall Street Journal Thursday that the cell includes around 20 people, 10 of which were assigned by ISIS’s senior leadership to execute the Dusseldorf attack. The group answers to Abu Doujana Al Tunisi, who is rumored to be the head of foreign fighters for ISIS. (RELATED: Germany Arrests Three Syrian Refugees Commissioned By ISIS To Launch Attack)
Authorities are cautious about making advancements on the group, because they want to prevent it from getting desperate and moving up any attack plans.
The March 22 Brussels bombings — which killed 32 people — took place four days after Salah Abdeslam, the main surviving suspect from the Paris attacks last November, was arrested. Abdeslam’s detention is believed to have moved up the Brussels plans, which is a scenario German officials want to avoid, according to the source.
The members in detention from the German cell all came to Europe using the refugee route through Turkey and Greece. Opponents to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy have warned that terror organizations have taken advantage of the lack of vetting. (RELATED: Germany Doubles Number Of ‘Migrants’ Suspected Of Being Terrorists)
“German security officials have indications that members and supporters of terrorist organizations are being smuggled in with refugees in a targeted, organized way in order to launch attacks in Germany,” a spokeswoman for the german federal police said in May.
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