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article imageSwiss detain three Iraqis planning IS attacks in Europe

By Robert Myles     Nov 2, 2014 in World
Berne - Three Iraqis suspected of planning a terrorist attack in Europe under the auspices of Islamic State (IS) have been held in custody in Switzerland since the end of March this year.
In a statement issued Friday, Oct. 13, Switzerland’s Public Ministry (MPC) said an investigation had been underway since March, triggered by secret information conveyed by the Swiss intelligence service, the Service de renseignement de la Confédération (SRC) , to the investigating authority, Switzerland’s Federal Judicial Police (Police judiciaire fédérale or PJF).
The group of three Iraqis are suspected of being supporters of “a criminal organization, Islamic State”. Intelligence sources also indicated the three were planning terrorist acts using explosives or toxic gases and had entered Switzerland illegally.
News concerning the three Iraqis detained had not been made public earlier so as not to jeopardize ongoing investigations in Switzerland and elsewhere, the statement continued. These investigations seek to identify possible accomplices of the three Iraqis in custody and gain further information on possible terrorist networks in Switzerland and other countries.
The MPC said that the international dimension of the case meant it was relying on the cooperation of other states. Several requests for legal assistance were issued over recent months to other European countries. In addition, the MPC has been working closely with authorities in the United States, with a joint FBI/PJF investigation team having been set up.
The joint Swiss-American investigation is the first of its kind to be established between the two countries under an "Operative Working Arrangement" concluded between Switzerland and the US in 2006 covering the criminal prosecution of terrorist activities.
Switzerland’s self-imposed, permanent state of neutrality — it’s the world’s oldest neutral country and hasn’t fought a foreign war since its neutrality was established by the Treaty of Paris in 1815 — means it's not a country normally associated with being a terrorist target.
That the reach of IS and fellow jihadists is wide, however, is illustrated by figures released by the Swiss Public Ministry which says the investigation concerning the three Iraqis detained is just one of 20 similar investigations underway involving radical jihadism, including five in connection with Syria.
Last September, the Zurich based NZZ am Sonntag first revealed that authorities in Switzerland had dismantled a jihadist cell and that three Iraqis aged between 28 and 33 were being held in Swiss custody. At the time MPC had declined to comment, but German language Tages-Anzeiger spoke of there being "overwhelming evidence" and it being "clear that these three men, from Kirkuk in northern Iraq , were arrested thanks to information provided by Finnish and American intelligence services to the Swiss Confederation, " reports Le Point.
Despite the references to ongoing investigations in Friday’s statement from the MPC, the same statement headlines: “I.S. planned bombings in Europe foiled.”
More about Islamic state, Islamic extremists, Is, Jihadists, Terrorism
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