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Swiss authorities 'shut down jihadist website'

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Swiss authorities 'shut down jihadist website'
Isis supporters in Syria. Photo: Rami Al Sayed/AFP
10:16 CET+01:00
A website considered by terrorism experts to be one of the major francophone platforms for recruiting jihadists was recently closed by Swiss authorities, French-language national TV broadcaster RTS reports.

RTS said on Tuesday it had learned that the Ansar-Ghuraba site, launched by a resident of Yverdons-les-Bains in the canton of Vaud, was deactivated following the intervention of federal police.

The site was accused of promoting propaganda and seeking support for terrorism in Syria and Iraq by the Islamic State (Isis), a group banned in Switzerland last month by the federal government.

“The site has been shut down following certain problems with the authorities in the country,” information on the website says.

Describing itself in French as the first “free and independent and non-sectarian Muslim social network”, the Ansar-Ghuraba site used an image of a lion with the slogan “ we live like lions, we die like lions”.

The creator of the site agreed to a television interview with RTS last August but then later withdrew his approval for it to be aired, the broadcaster said.

He explained that his home had been searched by federal police a few days before the interview.

The site was shut down following this search, RTS said.

It said it learned that the site’s creator had also transferred money to Syria.

Since the month of August, numerous Facebook, Twitter and other internet forums supporting Isis have been closed in Switzerland.

In early October, the federal government followed Germany’s lead by banning the extremist terror group and any activity that supports it.

The federal ordinance, initially in effect for six months, prohibits any activities by Isis within Switzerland and abroad, plus any activities that support or promote the group.

That could include propaganda and fundraising campaigns, or the recruitment of new members.

The move came after reports on the presence of jihadists in Switzerland, as well as escalating atrocities in Syria and Iraq, which have included several beheadings of British, French and American civilians.

Three Iraqis arrested in Switzerland in March are suspected of planning pro-Isis attacks and helping 40 Swiss residents travel to the Middle East to join Isis.

The developments represented a “threat to the internal and external security of Switzerland,” said the government.

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