Spain – On the 4 Mar 16 up to 20,000 military uniforms hidden inside aid packages had been uncovered after Spanish authorities busted a large scale smuggling ring to jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq. The camouflage fatigues were discovered inside boxes marked as second-hand clothes following a routine inspection by custom officials in Valencia and Algeciras. Spanish police confirmed they have confiscated all the supplies but refused to reveal whether the uniforms had been originally shipped from Europe. At the ports at Valencia and Algeciras, inspectors found other military gear which they believe the senders were planning to deliver to al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Photographs have emerged of large bundles of military-grade uniforms lying on the floor after they were found at the bottom of the aid packages, according to the International Business Times. 'The containers which carried the military uniforms were declared as second-hand clothes so as to not raise suspicions and be able to pass different customs inspections without any difficulty,' a statement read.
Spanish security did not confirm the intended final location for the cargo but it is thought the bust may have been linked to the arrest of seven smugglers in Spain last month. The arrests were carried out in the eastern cities of Valencia and Alicante and in Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta, the police said in a statement. 'Five are Spanish nationals of Syrian, Jordanian and Moroccan origin, and two are Syrian and Moroccan nationals,' it said at the time. The arrests were made in the context of an investigation launched in 2014 into 'foreign structures' providing logistical support for ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. The interior ministry warned that the latest discovery emphasised Spain's growing concern over the illegal smuggling of goods to Syria and Iraq. 'With the roughly 20,000 military uniforms and accessories, it would have been possible to equip an entire army, which would be ready to enter into combat in any of the battlegrounds which jihadist terrorist organisations have round the world,' it said in a statement.
United Kingdom/Northern Ireland – A terrorist weapons haul was discovered in a forest park in Northern Ireland it was reported on the 6 Mar 16. Bomb-making parts and explosives were recovered from Carnfunnock Country Park, near Larne, Co Antrim. The discovery came after a member of the public reported a suspicious object to the police. A number of small plastic barrels were subsequently found buried in a wooded area. Police said they contained a significant number of bomb-making components, including partially constructed devices and a small quantity of explosives. Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Detective Chief Inspector Gillian Kearney said it was unclear to which terror group the items belonged. 'All of these items will be subjected to a detailed forensic examination,' she said. 'Until this has been completed, it is too early to link these items to any particular grouping, but we are following a number of lines of inquiry. It is understood no Semtex was found among the haul of explosives. There are fears that dissident republicans have got their hands on a quantity of the Libyan-supplied plastic explosive used by the Provisional IRA during the Troubles. It is understood that police suspect a potential dissident connection to the Larne cache. But, given that the location of the find is in a predominantly unionist area, detectives are keeping an open mind on responsibility until further inquiries have been carried out. The discovery came just over 24 hours after a prison officer was badly injured when a dissident republican car bomb detonated under his van in Belfast. Police have warned that dissidents are planning a surge of violence in the run-up to the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising against British rule in Dublin.
United Kingdom/Da’esh – ISIS is planning a 'spectacular' attack on British soil - and unprecedented numbers of women and teenagers are being arrested to stop one, the UK's top anti-terror officer warned on the 7 Mar 16. Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley has said the terror group is 'trying to build bigger attacks' around the world and the UK is one of its number one targets. After the devastating series of suicide attacks on Paris last year where 130 died, a similar plot in Britain is a 'natural next step' for the terror group, he said. The Met officer said that while in the past few years the Islamist group has called on would-be jihadis to attack police and the military, their plots are now broader 'plans to attack Western lifestyle'. He said: 'In recent months we've seen a broadening of that, much more plans to attack Western lifestyle, and obviously the Paris attacks in Nov 15. 'Going from that narrow focus on police and military as symbols of the state to something much broader. And you see a terrorist group which has big ambitions for enormous and spectacular attacks, not just the types that we've seen foiled to date.' He added: 'You see a terrorist group that whilst on the one hand has been acting as a cult to use propaganda to radicalise people to act in their name ... you also see them trying to build bigger attacks.' Mr Rowley, who is the national policing lead for counter-terrorism, said that ISIS is trying to get supporters who have received military training in Syria into northern Europe to stage attacks.
Last November Mr Rowley admitted a suspected jihadi is being arrested every day to prevent a Paris-style terror attack. He also revealed officers are holding known extremists for 'anything we can' to 'disrupt' potential terror plots on home soil. Today he said that in the past three years the number of arrests of terrorist suspects has risen by 57 per cent compared to the three years before that. Around half lead to a charge. Last year just over three-quarters - 77 per cent - of those arrested were British nationals, 14 per cent were female and 13 per cent were aged 20 and under. The number of girls and women and the number of teenagers is a new trend, Mr Rowley said. 'That would not have been the picture that one would have seen a few years ago. That is an indication of that radicalisation, the effect of the propaganda and the way the messages of Da’esh (IS) are resonating with some individuals,' he added. Scotland Yard has seen more than 20 families and around 50 young people go through family court proceedings over concerns about radicalisation in the past year. Police are beginning to use trained psychologists who can provide advice both about how to deal with those at risk of being influenced by extremists, as well as terrorists in the event of an attack. The number of trained firearms officers across the UK is also being increased in the wake of the Paris atrocities, which saw 129 people killed in co-ordinated attacks by extremists. Official advice was issued at the end of last year to 'Run, Hide, Tell' if marauding gunmen are found to be on the loose - meaning get as far away as possible, hide, and if possible call the police. Mr Rowley also revealed Britain had officers in France and Belgium after the attacks and was 'harvesting information' about ISIS terrorists who killed 130 in Paris 'to prevent attacks' in the UK.
United Kingdom/Da’esh – As many as 64 Britons or people with links to the UK have been identified among thousands of Islamic State files handed to Sky News, an investigation has revealed on the 12 Mar 16. The dossier also has details of around 500 'graduates' of two training camps in Syria. The camps are the same as those revealed by Sky News last year where recruits were being trained for missions abroad. Khalil Raoufi (L) and Raphael Hostey (R) were named in the IS papers. The details are among tens of thousands of documents, containing names, addresses, telephone numbers and family contacts of Islamic State jihadis, that were obtained by Sky News last week. They were handed to Sky News on a memory stick from a disaffected former IS recruit. In the first camp, 371 are listed as having successfully completed their training, with four of those from the UK. Others who passed through the camp were from the United States, France, Belgium, Germany and New Zealand. The youngest, from Turkmenistan, was just 14 years old and nine of them were under 16. Anyone who passed through the camp received a graduation 'certificate' that allowed them to prove they had completed their training.
Among the names of those who passed through the camp was Al Mahdi Owlad Manshara, a Moroccan who was described as a chemical missile specialist. It comes after Sky News revealed that IS militants have been modifying weapons systems capable of targeting passenger jets and military aircraft. In the second training camp, among the 110 who passed was a Briton - listed on the papers as Anosh, and also known as Abu Dujana al Britani, from Manchester. He has been listed as dead by the SITE Intelligence Group. The papers say Anosh's sponsor was Abu al Qaqaa al Britani, whose real name was Raphael Hostey, a married father born in 1992 who left Manchester to travel to Syria in 2013. Hostey, a graphic designer, took at least one-and-a-half months to reach the Syrian border post of Bab al Hawa, about 25 miles (40km) west of Aleppo in October of that year. The files say Hostey, whose whereabouts are unknown, was recommended by Abu Abd al Rahman al Britani. Another also recommended by Abu Abd al Rahman was Khalil Raoufi, also known as Abu al Laith al Kharsani, a trainee mechanical engineer. Raoufi, born in 1994, was also married with a child when he left Manchester and headed to Bab al Hawa via Afghanistan, Pakistan and Canada. He is now dead. Investigators are probing whether some of the fighters may have been sent home to carry out attacks on Western soil.