German, Dutch Authorities Arrest 4 in Suspected Hamas Terror Plot, 3 More Arrested in Denmark

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
December 15, 2023Israel–Hamas War
German, Dutch Authorities Arrest 4 in Suspected Hamas Terror Plot, 3 More Arrested in Denmark
A German police officer in a file photo. (Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images)

Seven suspects were arrested in Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands in an alleged plot targeting Jewish institutions across Europe, authorities in the three countries announced on Thursday.

Germany’s Federal Prosecutor’s office announced on Thursday that German authorities had arrested two Lebanese nationals and an Egyptian national and had alerted Dutch authorities who had carried out the arrest of a fourth suspect in Rotterdam. The German authorities described the four suspects as members of the Hamas terrorist group.

German authorities identified the three suspects by their first name and first initial of their last name. Those arrested in Germany included Labanese-born Abdelhamid Al A. and Ibrahim El-R., and an Egyptian national identified as Mohamed B. The suspected arrested in the Netherlands was identified as a Dutch national identified as Nazih R. The German authorities said all four individuals had close ties to Hamas’s military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades.

The German Federal Prosecutor’s office alleged that beginning this spring, Abdelhamid Al A. had set about locating a cache of weapons Hamas had previously set up in Europe. Prosecutors say his instructions came from Hamas leaders living in Lebanon and asserted that the weapons were to be located and prepared for use in attacks on Jewish institutions in Europe. Mohamed B., Nazih R., and Ibrahim El-R. all allegedly helped in the efforts to locate the cache of weapons.

The Danish intelligence agency PET also announced the arrests of three people on suspicion of plotting to carry out “an act of terror” on Thursday. The Danish authorities provided few details about the arrests and it was unclear whether they believe the suspects are connected to those arrested in Germany and the Netherlands.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen acknowledged the arrests in her country in a press conference at the European Union summit in Brussels, Belgium, telling reporters the case represents a serious threat to Danish society.

The arrests come as Israeli military forces are actively fighting Hamas throughout the Gaza Strip. The fighting began after Hamas gunmen breached the Israel–Gaza barrier on Oct. 7 and proceeded to kill hundreds of people throughout southern Israel.

“Concerning Israel-Gaza, it is completely unacceptable for someone to bring an external conflict into Danish society,” Ms. Frederiksen said, according to translated remarks to PBS News.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced on Thursday that Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency had worked with Danish authorities to track down multiple suspects working on behalf of Hamas and help thwart attacks across Europe.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri has denied any of the group’s members have been arrested in Europe and told Reuters the announcement of these arrests is meant to sway public opinion amid mass rallies, protests, and riots across Europe in support of Palestinian nationalism.

Heightened Security Preparations in Europe

The arrests in Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands come at a time of heightened warnings for European nations.

Last week, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson warned there is a “huge risk of terrorist attacks” across the EU during the Christmas holiday season as the war between Israel and Hamas continues.

Ms. Johansson announced the EU would make an additional 30 million euros available to provide added security at potentially vulnerable locations, like places of worship.

German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said there have been increased attacks on Jewish people and institutions since the start of the Israel–Hamas conflict.

“We must therefore do everything we can to ensure that Jews in our country do not have to fear for their safety again,” Mr. Buschmann said Thursday.

Following the arrests on Thursday, Danish police said they would also increase their public presence in the coming days, in particular in Copenhagen and around Jewish localities. The Jewish Community in Denmark said it had been briefed about the recent arrest raids but had not received notice of specific threats to Jewish targets.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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