A large-scale anti-terror raid in three cantons across Switzerland has led to the arrest of 11 suspected jihadists including five minors.
Around 100 federal police agents along with cantonal police from Schaffhausen, Bern, and Zurich took part in the raids which were conducted by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPC), the State Minors’ Ministries of Winterthur, and the Canton of Bern, 20minutes reports.
Four of the minors arrested were located in Zurich and were aged between 15 and 17. The other, also a teen, was arrested in Bern. All of the underage suspects will be tried by the ministries for minors in both Bern and Winterthur, while the MPC will prosecute the adults.
All 11 suspects are thought to be supporters of either Islamic State or al-Qaeda and are also facing charges of participation in a criminal organisation.
Switzerland to Deport Terrorists Even if They Face Death Penalty at Home https://t.co/zUiCYjhjcA
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 24, 2019
One of the suspects, a 21-year-old Swiss national, had travelled to Syria in 2014 and returned to Switzerland a year later. In February he was found guilty of going to territory controlled by a terrorist organisation and sentenced to 11 months in prison but continued to spread propaganda for the Islamic State.
Around 66 individuals are thought to be at serious risk of participating in terrorist activity in Switzerland, according to a report released in May by the Confederation Intelligence Service (SRC).
Winterthur, one of the areas in which some suspects were arrested, has been known as a hotspot for Islamic extremism for years. In 2015, an Islamic State cell was thought to operate in the notorious An’Nur mosque with four individuals linked to the mosque having travelled to Syria.
An imam linked to the mosque was arrested a year later after being accused of inciting violence against non-Muslims during his sermons. Police said the imam, who was originally from Ethiopia, had called on followers to both denounce and murder Muslims who refused to take part in prayer.