Islamic extremists wanted by Germany arrested

Islamic extremists wanted by Germany arrested

BERLIN - The Associated Press
Islamic extremists wanted by Germany arrested

Extremist Mahmoud has been under close observation by German police. AFP photo

An Islamic extremist wanted by Germany for allegedly calling for terrorist attacks on Europe has been arrested in Turkey and Berlin is negotiating his extradition, an official said March 22.

Mohamed Mahmoud, 27, was picked up March 19 in the southeastern province of Hatay near the Syrian border, a German security official said on condition of anonymity. He said Germany has already begun preliminary proceedings to have Mahmoud extradited.

“We are very confident we will get him to Germany,” he said.

Mahmoud was jailed in his native Austria in 2007 for being a leader of the Global Islamic Media Front, which creates and distributes terrorist propaganda videos. Among the accusations, police said he threatened both Austria and Germany with attacks if they did not withdraw military personnel from Afghanistan.

Salafi imam

Following his release in 2011, Mahmoud moved to Germany and became an imam with the Salafi movement, which has been growing rapidly in the country by attracting both Muslims and converts. They have been under close observation since 2010, but that was stepped up further last year after they clashed with police in Bonn last year at a rally of a far-right party. Mahmoud, who had already been expelled from Germany ahead of the ban, resurfaced in Egypt.

While in Egypt, Mahmoud is also alleged to have produced online German-language videos for the Global Islamic Media Front calling for terrorist attacks in Europe. It was not immediately clear when he left Egypt nor whether he was on his way to Syria when he was arrested in Turkey. Police officials in Ankara and Hatay province said they did not have any information on the arrest. The Austrian Foreign Ministry said it was aware of the arrest but said the man’s identity had not yet been confirmed.