Spanish Agents Capture Europe’s Most-Wanted ISIS Terrorist Wearing COVID-Mask As Disguise
Terrorist cells in Europe are operating under cover of coronavirus lockdowns to shift personnel into the bloc or around. Earlier this week, Spain’s National Intelligence Centre (Spanish official intelligence agency) captured one of Europe’s highest-profile ISIS terrorists, Abdel Majed Abdel Bary, 28, reported The National.
Spain’s interior ministry did not name the suspect. Still, they said in a release: “one of the most wanted terrorists in Europe, both because of his criminal record in Daesh and for the high danger he posed.”
The ministry alleges Bary used the Spanish lockdown to conceal his face with a virus mask from law enforcement and cameras. Agents raided the apartment he was renting in the province of Andalusia on Wednesday.
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The interior ministry said the terrorist is Egyptian, has baffled authorities as to how he infiltrated the country, leaving some to believe he illegally crossed into Spain by sea.
We noted last month that ISIS issued a travel warning to all its fighters to avoid virus “plagued” Europe.
Nikita Malik, director of the Centre on Radicalization and Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society, told The National that the capture of Barry is a warning sign terrorist are using the pandemic to infiltrate Europe.
“If Abdel Majed Abdel Bary has been hiding in Europe, this raises the possibility that there could be many other ISIS suspects who are still unaccounted for,” Malik said.
“Covid-19 will allow suspected terrorists to hide indoors, and to travel outside undercover.
“While those monitored by the authorities are less likely to present a threat during this period, the police must remain vigilant to those who are off the radar or may be using distractions to smuggle into Europe.
“It is therefore imperative that intelligence is shared between countries to ensure that current gaps are not exploited by terrorists.”
Crime agency Eurojust reported in early April that terrorist investigations across the continent are increasing during the public health crisis.
Ladislav Hamran, President of Eurojust, recently said the agency is now focused on criminals that are taking advantage of coronavirus lockdowns.
And even before the pandemic began, terrorist cells have “embedded” themselves deep inside European cities – waiting for the perfect opportunity to launch a devastating attack, as it now appears a virus crisis coupled with an economic crash could be the “green light” for such attacks to inflict maximum damage.