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MUSLIM

Man claims ‘scientific’ interest in explosives after police raid

A Swiss man whose apartment was raided by police has protested against the seizure of explosive material found at his home, saying he simply had an interest in chemistry.

Man claims ‘scientific’ interest in explosives after police raid
The Swiss man said France "deserved" the attack on Paris that killed 130 including many at the Bataclan concert hall (pictured). Photo: Matthieu Alexandre/AFP
The 31-year-old from Arlesheim, in the canton of Basel-Country, is a Muslim convert who calls himself Abdullah and has close links to the Swiss Islamic Central Council (CCIS), wrote Blick on Thursday.
 
He was known to police as a potential Isis sympathizer since sending a private message on Facebook shortly after the terror attack on Paris last November in which he said France “deserved” the atrocity that killed 130 people, said the paper.
 
“There should be more attacks on that dirty country,” he wrote.
 
Speaking to Blick, the man said armed police carried out a dawn raid on his flat and seized 800 grams of red phosphorus, a substance that can be used to make explosives.
 
Objecting to the seizure, Abdullah said he bought the phosphorus legally online and was interested in making bombs after seeing a film on the subject. 
 
He had already experimented with the substance in a forest and had posted videos of his activity online.
 
However his interest was “purely scientific”, he told Blick. 
 
“I have less and less sympathy for Isis,” he added. 
 
The federal public prosecutor confirmed to the paper that the raid took place and chemical material was seized.  
 
Proceedings have been opened against him for violating the Swiss ban on terror groups including Isis.
 
The CCIS later said it was suspending the man, reported news agencies.

TERRORISM

Switzerland arrests suspected Isis sympathisers in numerous raids

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

Switzerland arrests suspected Isis sympathisers in numerous raids

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 organisation 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 organisation”.

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 organisation 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 Isis 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 Isis from Arabic into German and distributing them on various Telegram channels in German-speaking areas”.

“Isis 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 Isis 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 travelled 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.

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