Irish police say they have identified an ISIS network operating within Ireland that is recruiting young men to fight for the terror group.
According to a Gardaí source, “there are ISIS activists working together here in their own network, they are not working alone.”
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Buzz.ie reports: It’s the first time that security officials have confirmed that up to 25 ISIS members are operating as a unit in Ireland — and shows how organised the gang is here.
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The Star can reveal that around 25 of the terrorists have come together in a specific grouping with a command structure, working together here to help the evil group kill and maim abroad.
It’s understood the cell — which has members in different parts of the country — concentrates on recruiting young Irish-based Muslims to fight for the cold-blooded Islamic State gang in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
Security officials say more than 30 young men are currently abroad fighting for Islamic groups — but not all of them are with ISIS.
Several have gone to Syria to fight for other groupings who are opposed to the brutality of ISIS.
But investigators believe the bulk of Irish-based Muslims fighting in places like Syria are on the side of the terror group.
Investigators lost track of many of them when they got to the front lines — and it’s believed that some have been killed in the fighting.
As well as trying to recruit young men to fight for Islamic State in Middle Eastern war zones, sources say the unit is also heavily involved in support roles for the terror gang.
“ISIS in Ireland is involved in recruiting, but it is also heavily into financing and other logistics,” a source said.
“They are involved in sourcing false identification, such as EU passports and identity cards, for fighters to get into Europe from abroad.
“There are some members of ISIS in Ireland who are also connected to gangs that have carried out attacks in the rest of Europe.
“There is no intelligence that they are planning any attacks here, however.”
Meanwhile The Star has discovered this chilling photograph of two main ISIS leaders camping together in Ireland — before they were separately kicked out of the country.
The photo was taken in a rural area of Leinster last year — and shows how close both suspects are.
Both men, who cannot be named on the orders of the courts, were regarded by investigators as key members of the ISIS cell in Ireland — and The Star can reveal that they are both keeping in touch with extremists here from abroad.
The pair, who are social media friends, regularly talk to other suspects in Ireland.
And one of the men has even been laughing and joking about the hurricanes lashing America in recent days.
The man, who was deported from Ireland last year, said: “There are three hurricanes heading to the United States — this is great news! Not one soldier, but three.”
Both men, who are from Africa and the Middle East, came to the attention of the Garda Special Branch’s Counter Terrorism International Unit in the last two years because of their extremism.
Officers took legal action to get them both removed from the country — and they were later kicked out of Ireland after court cases.
Earlier this year, The Star uncovered a photograph of one of the men standing on Dublin’s South Circular Road making the one finger in the air sign used by ISIS.
He later told The Star from his new home in north Africa that he had nothing to do with ISIS — but senior security officials have now confirmed he was one of the main Islamic State players in Ireland.
“He was heavily involved in ISIS here,” a source said. “He was a key financier for them.”
And sources have also revealed that security officials now fear an influx of other ISIS members into Ireland — after the UK’s Brexit in 2019.
Security officials believe extremists will flock to Ireland because we are expected to have free travel to allow people to move easily between Ireland and Britain.
“The fear is there will be an influx of ISIS supporters and activists once Brexit happens,” a source told The Star.
“There is a belief that Ireland will become a transit point for Islamic extremists to get into Britain.”
Security officials told The Star that Islamic extremists will increasingly use Ireland as a base once Britain leaves the
EU as we will be the only English speaking country left in the EU and our access to the United Kingdom means it is inevitable that extremists will come here.
“There are some 110 million border crossings between Ireland and the United Kingdom every year — it is one of the busiest frontiers in Europe,” a source said.
“Because of the nature of the border between north and south and the island of Ireland and Britain, it is inevitable that there will be some form of deal of movement between both countries.
“So that means it will be easier to get to the UK from Ireland than any other part of the EU and we will become more attractive to extremists.
“There is no doubt more of them will come here after Brexit.”
Gardai have recently stepped up preparedness for terror attacks in Ireland amid fears that we could be targeted — including a strengthening of the armed response units.
The preparedness was increased after the shock revelation that London Bridge attacker Rachid Redouane (30) lived in
Dublin several years before the June 2017 attack that killed eight people.
However, sources say the possibility of an attack here is still moderate — which means it is possible, but unlikely.