EU state uncovers Islamist plot

Polish authorities have detained an 18-year-old would-be suicide bomber inspired by Osama bin Laden and ISIS

An 18-year-old who converted to Islam and was building a suicide belt has been arrested in southern Poland, the country’s Internal Security Agency (ABW) said on Friday.

The suspect was “collecting information and semi-finished components to make a suicide belt, with which he planned to carry out a bomb attack on a state office building,” the agency said in a statement. “As a result of the arrest and search of the man’s place of residence, evidence of the planned crime was revealed.”

Investigators described the suspect as a Polish citizen who changed his religion to Islam at the end of 2022 and confessed to being inspired by Osama bin Laden, the late leader of Al-Qaeda who masterminded the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as well as the activities of Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS) terrorist group.

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ABW did not reveal the suspect’s name. He was arrested in Zabkowice Slaskie, in the Lower Silesia province. After searching his residence, ABW agents also searched the homes of several other people who had been in contact with the suspect and may have had knowledge of the planned attack.

The Organized Crime and Corruption Division in Wroclaw has taken over the prosecution from the local authorities, due to the severity of the case. Charges against the man include participation in an organized criminal group with the purpose of committing a crime of terrorism, as well as planning to use explosives to threaten the health of many people or significant property damage.

The suspect has been placed in pre-trial detention for 90 days. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Four ISIS sympathizers were arrested by Polish authorities in 2020, but were identified as immigrants from Tajikistan and deported to ther home country. The group was accused of trying to recruit Polish converts to their cause. Poland’s population is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, with less than 0.1% identifying as Muslim. 

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