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‘Islamic State Commander’ Found Living As Refugee In Rural German Village

In the latest of a series of raids, German police have searched two homes in a rural village after a television channel interviewed a suspected Islamic State commander living there as a refugee.

Sankt Johann is a small village in the south west German state, Rhineland-Palatinate. Something of a rural idyll, its 800 residents live between vineyards in the shadow of a 14th century Gothic church. And yet, as SPIEGEL TV reports, this weekend it was the scene of police raids on two Islamic State-linked suspects living in refugee housing.

Prosecutors’ office spokesman Michael Neuhaus said the two men targeted by the operation are “suspected of taking part in the Syrian civil war as members of a foreign terrorist organisation”. He said there were “no immediate indications that a concrete attack was planned” but declined to give any further details.

Two houses in the village are used to house Syrian refugees, but among the opponents of the Assad regime living there SPIEGEL TV tracked down a suspected commander of the Islamic State terror group after tip offs from other Syrian activists. They had identified him as a man called Bassam, a notorious commander said to be responsible for the deaths of dozens of people.

A 32-year-old man, he allegedly fought in the ranks of Islamic State fighters in the eastern Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor before leaving via Turkey to seek asylum in Germany. Starting his fighting career with rebel jihadists in Al Kasra, the man in question is understood to have joined Sunni Islamist militias fighting the Syrian Government as part of the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front, before graduating to the even more extreme Salafi jihadists of Islamic State.

His original ambition had been to be a suicide bomber, but his brother had used his position as a Sharia judge to secure him his


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