Germany, Switzerland arrest four suspected IS sympathizers in cross-border operation

BERLIN, Germany — Four suspected members or sympathizers of the Islamic State group have been detained in Germany and Switzerland in a cross-border operation, prosecutors from the two countries said Tuesday.

In Switzerland, three people were picked up in the cantons of Zurich, Sankt Gallen and Lucerne, national authorities said, adding that seven further searches were also carried out.

The suspects, whose identities were not released, are accused of “participation in or support for the outlawed organization Islamic State.”

In Germany, a man was detained in the western town of Roemerberg, federal prosecutors said. Identified only as Aleem N., he is “strongly suspected of preparing a serious violent attack threatening the security of the state and of belonging to a foreign terrorist organization.” He is believed to have attempted to travel from Germany via Turkey to Syria in September 2020.

“In Syria, the suspect wanted to join the foreign terrorist organization Islamic State, attain military training and then take part in combat or terrorist attacks,” the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement. However, Aleem N. was unable to reach Syria for reasons that were not immediately clear and returned to Germany.

“At the latest in April 2021 he joined IS in Germany and carried out vast propaganda activities for the group,” prosecutors said. His duties included “mainly translating official texts, videos and audio messages by IS from Arabic into German and distributing them on various Telegram channels in German-speaking areas.”

Illustrative: Police officers secure the High Regional Court in Celle, Germany, on September 26, 2017, for the trial of suspected representative of the Islamic State group. (Holger Hollemann/dpa via AP)

“IS considered such activities to be equivalent to taking part directly in violent jihad,” it added. The suspect is also believed to have taken part in a telephone conversation with IS leaders in late 2021 to “verify his reliability” before travelling to “IS zones of operation.” However, “a further attempt” to reach Syria in January 2022 “failed again.”

Aleem N. was to appear on Tuesday before a federal judge who will decide whether to remand him in custody.

German intelligence services estimate that more than 1,150 people have traveled from Germany to Iraq and Syria since 2011 for Islamist reasons. More than a third have since returned to Germany, while at least 270 have been killed in Iraq or Syria.

“A low three-digit-number” are currently detained in the two countries, according to the intelligence services’ 2021 report.


It’s not (only) about you.

Supporting The Times of Israel isn’t a transaction for an online service, like subscribing to Netflix. The ToI Community is for people like you who care about a common good: ensuring that balanced, responsible coverage of Israel continues to be available to millions across the world, for free.

Sure, we’ll remove all ads from your page and you’ll gain access to some amazing Community-only content. But your support gives you something more profound than that: the pride of joining something that really matters


Join the Times of Israel Community


Join our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this


You’re a dedicated reader

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago – to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel


Join Our Community


Join Our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *