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TERRORISM

Two arrested in Swiss anti-terror operation

Swiss police arrested two people in a counter-terror operation in the Vaud canton, national media reported on Monday.

Two arrested in Swiss anti-terror operation
File photo of an armed police officer on patrol. Photo: Richard Juilliart / AFP

The pair were stopped in a shopping centre car park at 3pm on Saturday afternoon, according to a report in 20 Minutes.

Both suspects, a man and a woman, are accused of supporting or participating in a criminal organization, a spokesperson for the Swiss Public Prosecutor's Office said.

READ ALSO: Switzerland faces 'heightened' terror threat in uncertain Europe

The spokesperson did not confirm which organization the two are suspected of supporting, but said they are thought to have “contravened the federal law prohibiting the Al-Qaeda and Isis groups and related organizations”.

Saturday's arrest comes just days after a man was arrested in Geneva on suspicion of supporting terrorist groups.

The Geneva man was reportedly suspected of being a key figure in the recruitment of jihadists on Swiss soil and was sought by Swiss police for at least two years.

Switzerland's government last week launched a period of consultation aimed at tightening anti-terror laws, as the country remains on high alert in the wake of recent attacks across Europe.

The new measures would replace the current temporary ban on terror organizations including Al-Qaeda and Isis with new, more specific, legislation making it a criminal offence to recruit people for a terror group, receive terrorist training or travel abroad for the purposes of terrorism.

READ ALSO: 'Paranoid' man causes terror fears in Lausanne metro

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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