Europe News 06 October 2009
Lebanese authorities uncovered what they think is a European Fatah al-Islam network, branching into Norway, Sweden and Finland, reports Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in its Saturday edition.
The network, according to the newspaper, enjoyed Scandinavia's tradition hospitality to immigrants when they established cells in Northern Europe.
The network is inspired by al-Qaeda and according to the newspaper's sources had prepared plans to commit acts of terror in Europe.
Air-traffic, public buildings and 'cultural symbols' were named as targets for the acts Fatah al-Islam wanted to commit.
some of the members came into the EU in recent months from Syria and Lebanon and then ran an extensive travel business in Europe with stolen or phony papers.
The purpose of this trips was to map out possible terror targets.
A "European head office" was established several months ago in Greece by a central member of the Lebanese terror groups, and from there the terror network's travel activities were coordinated.
Unnamed Lebanese sources describe this central member as Muhammed Musa, also known by the alias Abu Muslim.
The Lebanese sources claim, according to the paper's journalist Guido Olimpio, that there was also a Nordic Fatah al-Islam cell, with members in Norway, Sweden and Finland.
The reason the Lebanese network chose Scandinavia was that they wanted to take advantage of the region's traditional hospitality towards immigrants and lack of inspection by local authorities, writes the Milan newspaper's terrorism expert.
Among the Fatah al-Islam member who established themselves in Europe were some who were trained sabotage activities.
These people lives in a safe-house in Greece and played a key role in the activities which went on.
A Syrian citizen who had a central role in the terror organization was partially responsible for the Lebanese authorities finding out about the network.
Abu Adnan lived in Greece for several years and was arrested in Lebanon in teh summer.
The Syrian went through several tough interrogations after the arrest, and confessed in these interrogations of building up Fatah al-Islam's European network.
The new data on Fatah al-Islam confirm previous reports that the Lebanese terror network considers Europe both as a place of refuge and a target.
Terrorism expert Brynjar Lia of the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment toldtv2nyhetene.no that Fatah al-Islam is most focused on Lebanon and the Levant, but has a presence in several countries and was involved in attempting operations in Europe.
Arab newspaper Dar al-Hayat claimed in December 2008 that several of the prisoners in the Lebanese Roumieh prison had been in exile in European countries like Sweden, Germany and Denmark before they came to Lebanon to participate in Jihad - holy war.
In December 2008, a court in Dusseldorf sentenced a 24 year old Lebanese to life in prison for attempting to blow up a German train.
The 24 year old was linked to Fatah al-Islam and wanted to blow up the trains in order to take revenge for European media printing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.
His brother, who was also a suspect in the case, was killed in a battle between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam in Tripoli in 2007.
The Norwegian security service had no comment for tv2nyhetene.no on Fatah al-Islam's Norwegian branch.
Source: TV2 Nyhetene (Norwegian)