herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Two men suspected of using Irish banks for IS cash are held after raids

An IS supporter in Raqqa brandishes the flag of the terror group
An IS supporter in Raqqa brandishes the flag of the terror group

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of using Irish bank accounts to transfer money connected to Islamic State (IS).

Detectives from the Garda Counter Terrorism International (CTI) unit swooped on the two men in Co Dublin yesterday morning, following a lengthy operation involving other international police agencies.

The arrested suspects - an Algerian national in his 30s and a Moroccan man in his 40s - are being held at Blackrock Garda Station in south Dublin.

Terror

They were detained under the Terrorist Offences Act 2015.

A senior source said last night that the men, who have lived here for a number of years, are suspected of using Irish bank accounts for the transfer of money connected to the notorious terror group.

They were arrested as part of a major international police operation that led to four searches yesterday, including in Trim, Co Meath, and the South Circular Road - as well as the addresses where the men were arrested.

The arrest and search operation is a separate investigation to the anti-terror arrest in Waterford city, which saw a young man being arrested there last month.

Laptops, documentation and financial material were seized in yesterday's top-secret searches.

Gardai had been provided with information by foreign police forces, which led to a major surveillance operation taking place.

"This operation is focusing on money-laundering taking place in Ireland for [IS]," a senior source said.

The operations were part of an ongoing investigation carried out by the CTI unit, a branch of the Special Detective Unit based in Harcourt Square.

The CTI has also been assisted by security agencies from other countries.

Threat

Senior gardai have previously said the organisation was skilled enough to deal with the threat of foreign terror groups.

Superintendent Noel Cunningham, president of the Association of Garda Superintendents, said that combating dissident republicans over the last number of decades has also helped train gardai in the gathering and dissemination of intelligence.

"This is a whole new departure for us," he said.

"I believe we are adequately resourced and I think we have a huge expertise built up over the years dealing with the threat of the IRA."

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