“Palestinian” terrorism is a real threat in Europe

Yesterday in L'Aquila the police arrested three Palestinians on charges of “association with the aim of terrorism, including international terrorism, or subversion of the democratic order”. The suspects, according to what was released by the investigators, “were proselytizing and propagandizing for the association and planning attacks, including suicides, against civilian and military targets in foreign territory”. The precautionary custody order in prison for the three Palestinian citizens residing in the Abruzzo capital was issued by the district investigating judge, at the request of the Prosecutor's Office – District Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Directorate in coordination with the National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor's Office.

Thanks to the investigations of the Digos investigators and the Service for combating extremism and international terrorism of the Central Directorate of the Prevention Police, the establishment of a military operational structure called “Rapid Response Group – Tulkarem Brigades” was proven, a a sort of spin-off of the “Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades” (recognized as a terrorist organization by the European Union) which is committed to carrying out acts of violence with the aim of terrorism even against a foreign state.

Among the three people affected by the precautionary measure there is also Anan Yaeesh, a thirty-seven year old Palestinian already in prison in Terni after being arrested on January 27 at the request of the Israeli authorities who are requesting his extradition. The group composed of Anan Kamal Afif Yaeesh, Ali Saji Ribhi Irar and Mansour Doghmosh, according to what is read in the investigating judge's order, planned a terrorist action to be carried out in the Israeli settlement of Avnei Hefetz, in the West Bank with the use of a 'car bomb. The plan emerged thanks to electronic interceptions by the Police: «It is a suicide unit, ready to act in depth and our action will be immediate», Yaeesh and Almagdah, military head of the Brigades, say in a WhatsApp conversation on January 9th of the Martyrs of al-Aqsa.

Yesterday's operation is just the umpteenth demonstration of how Palestinian terrorists live undisturbed on our territory, busy planning attacks and raising funds. Last January 28, Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi stated: «Since 7 October 2023, as many as 34 people considered dangerous for suspected membership of jihadist organizations or for having embraced the practice of radicalization have been expelled. The danger is real, as demonstrated by the events that have occurred in territories other than the Italian-European one in recent years.” Words that weigh like boulders. Things are certainly no better in the rest of the European Union where over the years tens of thousands of people have arrived (often with uncertain identities), who have created authentic parallel societies, where the common glue is Islam interpreted in its most violence that has created authentic monsters. European authorities said they intercepted several terrorist plots, some involving individuals suspected of posing as refugees, raising concerns about a growing array of extremist threats.

In an investigation kept secret until last December, Austrian and Bosnian police arrested two separate groups of Afghan and Syrian refugees carrying weapons and ammunition, including Kalashnikov assault rifles and handguns. Some suspects had images of Jewish and Israeli targets in Europe on their mobile phones, suggesting their involvement. These arrests followed those at the end of the previous year (which we reported on), when a group of Tajik citizens were suspected of planning attacks on Cologne Cathedral in Germany and St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna over the holidays Christmas.

Investigators said these individual incidents show an increase in the terrorist threat in Europe, coming from new sources, making the work of security agencies more complex. Although the wave of attacks in recent years was largely inspired by the Islamic State, the threat now also comes from other organizations, such as the Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) in Afghanistan, as well as from Iran and its allies in Middle East, including Hezbollah and Hamas. The Federal Office for the Protection of the German Constitution warned that “such groups had been emboldened by the war in Gaza and that Jews and Jewish institutions in Europe could be potential targets.” We subsequently reported late last year that German police conducted raids across the country against Hamas and its affiliates. German and Dutch investigators have arrested four people accused of receiving orders from Hamas to set up a secret weapons cache and attack Jewish targets in Berlin and other parts of Western Europe. German prosecutors said Hamas hid weapons in Europe years ago, but the suspects, all Hamas members with experience in its operations abroad, refused to reveal their locations.

On 23 October 2020 in Panorama the then ambassador Nathan Sales coordinator for counter-terrorism and special envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS within the United States Department of State from 2017 to 2021 said: «I can reveal that deposits Hezbollah's weapons secrets have been moved through Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Switzerland and that significant ammonium nitrate deposits have been discovered and destroyed in France, Italy and Greece.” As the Wall Street Journal writes, German security officials said Hamas, Hezbollah and related organizations in Europe have exploited the war in Gaza for propaganda, recruitment and fundraising. Private donations to Hamas and Hezbollah in Europe increased significantly after the October 7 attack. The groups have also intensified their online activities and encouraged protests against the war in Gaza in many European cities including Italy. Hamas and Hezbollah have so far exploited Europe as a place to raise funds and a refuge for their agents. However, recent raids against the terrorist organization indicate that these groups are now planning attacks and sabotage in Europe, mainly targeting Jewish and Israeli targets, according to security officials from several countries. Another worrying aspect is the connection with far-left groups and those anarchists who have demonstrated in favor of Hamas since the beginning of the war.

Meanwhile, the case of the suspected Tajiks raises concerns that terrorist groups, including Iran and its proxies, may once again exploit the influx of refugees into Europe to infiltrate and strike in the Old Continent. It is no secret that some of the Islamic State terrorists who attacked Paris in 2015 had come from Syria and Iraq posing as refugees (e.g., Osama Krayem and Abdelhamid Abaaoud), and more than a million asylum seekers have sought status of refugees in the EU last year, the highest number to date.

Last November, German authorities carried out raids on the Islamic Center in Hamburg and other organizations in the city suspected of supporting Hezbollah. The centre, which runs the Imam Ali Mosque in Hamburg's lakeside district, has been identified as one of the most important representations of Iran in Germany and a significant source of propaganda for Iran in Europe, according to a German intelligence report published last year. Iran has a long history of attacking dissidents and opponents abroad, but more recently it has also targeted Jews on the continent. In December, a German-Iranian man was sentenced by a German court to almost three years in prison for attempting to bomb a synagogue in the city of Bochum on behalf of the Iranian government in November 2022. While European intelligence is busy searching of the terrorist networks that are part of Iran, it is just a question of understanding where and when Hamas or Hezbollah will strike because there is little doubt that this will happen.