Seven suspected members of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas were arrested this Thursday in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, suspected of preparing terrorist attacks, as German and Israeli authorities reported today.
If this were confirmed, it would be a first since, even if Hamas’ fundraising activities are known, for example in Germany, until now, no terrorist attack claimed by the group has taken place on European soil. .
First of all, it was the Danish police who announced this morning the arrest of three individuals as part of an anti-terrorist operation, without however specifying their ideological origin.
“The aim was to arrest three people and carry out a series of searches throughout the country. The three people are now in our custody, accused of a terrorist crime. And there is one detained in the Netherlands,” he said. declared the leader during a press conference. conference, Danish intelligence service (PET) agent, Flemming Drejer.
During the police operation, the station in Aarhus (west), the country’s second city, was evacuated for more than an hour to investigate “suspicious circumstances”, without anything being found.
Subsequently, German prosecutors revealed that three individuals, one of Egyptian nationality and two of them born in Lebanon – probably Palestinian – were arrested this Thursday in Berlin as suspected members of Hamas and that a fourth, Dutch, was arrested in Rotterdam thanks to a European arrest warrant.
“The arrest of four suspected members of the terrorist organization Hamas shows that our security services are acting with extreme vigilance and consistency,” said German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser.
“We are acting with all the tools of the rule of law against those who threaten the lives of Jews and the existence of the State of Israel,” he added.
They were planning attacks against Jewish targets
It was precisely Tel Aviv which indicated for the first time that those arrested in Denmark were allegedly acting on behalf of Hamas and were preparing an attack on European soil aimed at killing “innocent citizens”.
The Israeli government assured that the operation was carried out with the cooperation of the Israeli intelligence services, Mossad and Shin Bet, which will continue to operate “in combination of forces and capabilities with their partners in Israel and around the world to repel the intentions and eliminate Hamas.
Israel said that in recent years, and even more so since the October 7 attack, Hamas has worked to expand its operational capabilities around the world and in Europe in particular to “realize its ambitions to attack at all costs.” Israeli, Jewish and Western targets. “.
“Hamas is striving to expand its operational capabilities around the world and in Europe in particular to realize its ambitions to attack Israeli, Jewish and Western targets at all costs”
The German prosecutor’s office went into a little more detail and clarified that the detainees were long-time members of Hamas and participated in the organization’s external operations, while being “closely linked” to the leaders of the military branch.
One of them, Abdelhamid Al A., on the orders of the leaders of the Islamist group in Lebanon, had been trying since the spring of this year to find a cache of weapons buried on European territory by Hamas for “conspiratorial” purposes. . “The objective was to transport the weapons to Berlin and prepare them for possible attacks against Jewish installations in Europe,” according to the prosecution.
The Central Council of Jews, relieved
The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, said today’s arrests demonstrate “how acute the terrorist threat is also in Germany.”
At the same time, he declared himself “relieved” by the vigilance of the security services, whom he thanked for having protected “Jewish life in Germany”.
According to recent data from German domestic intelligence, there are an estimated 450 Hamas members residing in Germany, who until now were believed to be mainly involved in propaganda activities.
According to sources cited by the newspaper Papulesecurity forces had been monitoring the detainees since last summer, before the attacks launched by Hamas from Gaza on October 7.
The three detained in central Berlin will be handed over tomorrow to the investigating judge of the Federal Court of Justice, who will likely order their imprisonment.