A senior Islamic State (IS) military commander has been detained for questioning after a dawn swoop by German anti-terror police on an invader center near Mainz, German media have reported.
Bassam’s passport, as obtained by Der Spiegel.
The nonwhite invader, identified only by his first name “Bassam,” was pretending to be a refugee and had been accommodated at the German taxpayers’ expense in the picturesque municipality of Sankt Johann, in the Mainz-Bingen district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, about 13 miles south of Mainz.
The Der Spiegel magazine had in the interim been informed by contacts in Syria that a senior IS commander had come to Germany posing as a “refugee.” That magazine sent journalists to follow up on this lead, and, after obtaining his passport and his cell phone sim card, started piecing together the IS man’s path.
The cell phone sim card contained deleted photographs of IS actions in Syria which were recovered, along with pictures of the IS commander and friends in various poses. One of the many pictures recovered on the cell phone was of an IS execution in which victims were burned alive in metal cages.
Some of the photographs recovered from Bassam’s cell phone sim card.
Bassam was, according to the information collected by Der Spiegel, an IS military commander in the district west of Deir al-Zor, a town in eastern Syria. He had originally been with the “moderate” rebels supplied, armed, and financed by the US government, but had, like almost all of them, defected first to the Al Nusra front and then to IS.
Several witnesses in Syria who Der Spiegel spoke to said that Bassam had been a “notorious commander responsible for the deaths of dozens of people in Deir al-Zor and the surrounding area.”
He obtained his command due to the fact that his brother is a still-serving IS Sharia judge. Bassam had initially volunteered to be a suicide bomber for IS, but his brother had dissuaded him of this and instead organized the job as senior military commander.
The next time Bassam appeared on the radar was in later summer 2015 when he was stopped at a checkpoint north of Aleppo, carrying tens of thousands of US dollars in cash. The cash was taken from him and he was released once again to go on his way. It was while being detained that his cell phone sim card was taken from him, and later handed over to Der Spiegel.
In autumn, Bassam made it to Germany, pretending to be a refugee. Der Spiegel tracked him down and even interviewed him, before handing all their evidence over to the police, who then raided his residence.
Bassam (circled), as a “refugee” in Germany this week.
The worst of the situation is that the German security services were completely unaware of Bassam prior to the Der Spiegel investigations.
The raids were the second major police action against IS guerillas pretending to be refugees in Germany this week, after a swoop last Thursday saw several arrests in Berlin, Lower Saxony, and North Rhine-Westphalia.