Terrorism and extremism weekly summary 25 September - 1 October

Europe

On Sunday 1 October, an unknown 30-year-old attacked pedestrians with a knife at the main train station in Marseille, killing two people. The man was supposedly shouting Islamist slogans during the attack and was subsequently shot by patrolling soldiers deployed within Operation Sentinelle as support for police units. The station was closed by security forces shortly after the attack.  

On Monday 25 September, eight raids took place in the Brussels region, five in Molenbeek and one each in Asse, Jette and Anderlecht. The raids were conducted by the anti-terrorism wing of the Belgian police with the aim to find and arrest Samir El Jakubi from Molenbeek, who is suspected to have ties to local Islamist circles. The police secured a large amount of evidence in the raids but refused to disclose further information due to the ongoing investigation. 

In the Belgian town of Herstal, a pyrotechnic unit deactivated a dangerous device containing noxious gas and spreading it in the surrounding area on the premises of the Forges de Zeebrugge arms company during an extensive police operation. None of the employees were injured, the circumstances of the device's discovery and the motives behind the attack are still being investigated

In Örebro, Sweden, a town located some 160 km west of Stockholm, a local mosque was set on fire in the early morning of Tuesday 26 September. Almost half of the building was destroyed but no one was injured. The police subsequently arrested a 20-year-old suspect. The Sunni mosque in Örebro is attended by around 5,000 people every month and a similar incident also happened there in 2014 when someone threw a bottle with flammable contents at the building, however, a fire was not started then. The mosque is located in the problematic neighbourhood of Vivalla where unemployment is high and most residents are immigrants.

According to information published on Wednesday 27 September by the spokesperson for the London Metropolitan Poice, 11 members and supporters of the far-right National Action group were arrested during the latest round of anti-extremist raids.The arrests took place in several locations in England and Wales. The National Action group is known for its racist and anti-semitic conduct. Some of the arrested were accused of preparing terrorist attacks, others of racist and nationalist activities.

A 65-year-old woman was detained by a British anti-terrorism unit on Wednesday 27 September in London, the details of the arrest are not available so far. The police are also searching the woman's apartment in north London. On the following day, Thursday 28 September, the Metropolitan police detained a 19-year-old woman in south London, who is suspected of financing terrorism. The woman supposedly has contacts in Syria but a connection between her activities and the Parsons Green attack has been ruled out. 

Middle East

According to police spokespersons, Turkish anti-terrorism units conducted 14 raids in 10 Istanbul districts on Friday 29 September and arrested 50 people, including Syrian and Iraqi nationals, who were taken into custody. The arrested are suspected of ties to Islamists from the so-called Islamic State (IS). Important evidence was secured during the raids, some of the arrested verifiably participated in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq on the radicals' side. 

In the Har Adar settlement at Jordan's West Bank, close to Jerusalem, a Palestinian attacker shot three Israeli policemen on Tuesday 26 September. Other policemen then shot the attacker, who was not known to be radical and even had a permit to work in Jewish settlements. The attack was classified as a terrorist act, similar incidents have been intensifying in Israel since autumn of 2015. Since then, more than 300 people, both attackers and victims, were killed in such attacks.

About author: Matěj Novák

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