A global counter-extremism organisation has praised the international police operation that led to the arrest in Dublin of an Algerian national on suspicion of supporting jihadist terrorism.
The Counter Extremist Project (CEP), a non-profit body, said “swift action” was needed to dismantle terrorist support networks.
The CEP — which has a base in six American and European cities, including Dublin — claimed that Islamic State (IS) fighters and fundraisers had been “operating under the radar” in Ireland for some time.
An Algerian man, aged in his 40s, was arrested this week by Garda Counter Terrorism International (CTI) detectives following a request from the London Metropolitan Police to check out the details of an identification document.
The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command uncovered the document in a search in Greece which was part of an investigation into jihadist terrorism.
The man was arrested at a property in Drumcondra, north Dublin, under anti- terrorism legislation on suspicion of possessing fraudulent documentation for the facilitation of terrorist activity.
He was subsequently released without charge and Counter Terrorism International, part of the Special Detective Unit, will prepare a file for the DPP.
“The Counter Extremism Project is encouraged to learn that Dublin police detained an Algerian national suspected of producing fake passports and documentation for Isis fighters,” the organisation said.
“Swift action is needed to dismantle terrorist support networks and CEP applauds the cross-border co-operation between British, Irish, and Greek police and investigative agencies that led to the arrest of a suspected terrorist sympathiser.”
A CEP board member, Ivor Roberts, a former ambassador to Ireland, told the Irish Examiner that “nobody is immune” from jihadist terrorism.
“This is a worldwide phenomenon and no one can regard themselves as safe.”
He said the purpose of CEP, which was initially set up in the US, is to counter extremism in practical ways in order to “minimise its toxic impact”.
He praised the co-operation by the British and Irish security services in the recent operation and pointed out that, in his personal experience, there is a very close working relationship across the border.
“In my time as ambassador I saw how close it is between all the security services on both sides of the border,” said Mr Roberts. “The co-operation was 100% and I’m sure they continue to work very closely.”
He left the post in 2003 which, he said, was “pre-Isis”.
Mr Roberts, who also served as head of counter terrorism at the British Foreign Office, said it is now crucial that authorities continue to co-operate on security in the face of Brexit and the Common Travel Area.
“Both governments will want to make sure the border is seamless and permeable as possible,” said Mr Roberts.
“While other methods might be needed for trade, one thing they won’t want to see happening is any diminution in cooperation on intelligence and security.”
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