NewsCrime Desk

Gardai watching thirty terror suspects in Ireland

Rachid Redouane
Rachid Redouane

IRELAND is a hub for Islamic extremists, and specialist gardai are closely monitoring at least 30 terror suspects.

However, although officers are watching more than two dozen extremists, the exact number of jihadists is “unquantifiable”, according to senior sources.

The revelation comes after a dramatic 24 hours that saw two arrests – one in Wexford, the other in Limerick – linked to killer Rachid Redouane, who had lived in Dublin.

A 30–year-old married Moroccan man was arrested at his place of work in Wexford town at about 4.30pm yesterday by members of the Special Detective Unit on suspicion of “obtaining money by deception”.

The man, who works in catering, is understood to have been resident in the town for a number of years.

He was being detained last night at Wexford Garda Station, where he was being questioned about suspected money laundering for terrorists.

Reports indicate that documents linking the arrested man to Redouane were found during follow-up searches by police in London.

It has also emerged that British security services see Ireland as an easy location for jihadists to hide and plot attacks, as well as raise money for terrorist activities.

The revelation that London terror attacker Redouane (30) had lived in Rathmines and got married here has once again highlighted the serious threat level that Ireland faces from Islamic extremists.

However, gardai have no information that another of the London terrorist trio – high-profile jihadist Khuram Butt (27) – ever visited Ireland, despite his mugshot being recognised by senior members of the Muslim community in Dublin this week.

Gardai remain deeply concerned that a London-type terror attack could happen here and are constantly preparing for such an eventuality, but the threat level officially remains “moderate”.

This means that an attack is possible but not likely.

Specialist counter-terrorism gardai have been monitoring a number of mosques across the capital, as well as in rural towns, in which it is feared terrorist rhetoric is originating.

In one mosque in the Dublin area, a small Muslim community has been “completely uncooperative” with gardai who have attempted to engage with them.

“Garda community liaison officers attempting to go about their duties have been basically told to get lost when they call to the mosque,” a source said.

“The feeling is that these people are no friends of the gardai or the State.

“In fairness, only a small amount of worshippers attend this facility, which is located close to a number of mosques which do not cause any concern to gardai.”

The mosque that is causing concern is policed within the Kevin Street district.

Even though there have been at least 30 “persons of interest” identified, it is understood that, within this sinister grouping, there are around 12 hardcore Islamic extremists in Ireland.

They have been placed on an “unofficial watch list” because of their strong links to international terror groups, mainly Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda.

 Jihadi fanatics are monitored by the Garda Counter-Terrorism International (CTI) unit, set up within the Crime and Security section in 2014.

This unit is specifically responsible for targeting Islamist terror support groups based in Ireland.

The situation has intensified because many EU passport holders, who have fought for IS in its losing battles in Iraq and Syria, are now returning home to Europe.

While there is growing concern that Ireland will be targeted by Islamic terrorists, the biggest fear is that the country will be used as a launching pad for an attack in the UK or other European countries.

The Herald revealed last November that a major operation targeting IS extremists at our biggest ports had begun after British authorities carried out “dummy runs” last year that identified serious security weaknesses.

British security services carried out checks by driving undercover into Rosslare Europort in Co Wexford on ferries from ports in Wales and encountering a “lack of major security”.

This in turn led to meetings between gardai and their UK counterparts, and gardai set up an investigation codenamed Operation Mutiny, which is continuing.

In recent months, specialist gardai have carried out a number of high-profile operations against suspects who have been involved in money laundering and fundraising for Islamist extremists in Ireland.