To Europe, that is. From Asia Times Online, with thanks to Ali Dashti:
BANGALORE – Ansar al-Islam’s battlefield appears to be expanding. Until recently, this Islamist extremist group was known mainly for its violent attacks inside Iraq. Now indicators suggest that it poses a growing threat to Europe as well.
In early December, a plot to assassinate Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi during his visit to Berlin was unearthed. Three Iraqis with suspected links to Ansar-al Islam were taken into custody in Germany. A few months earlier, Ansar al-Islam’s hand was suspected in a plot to attack a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit meeting in Istanbul.
The presence of Ansar al-Islam members in Germany or elsewhere in Europe is not new. At least 20 known supporters of Ansar al-Islam have been rounded up in Germany alone over the past year, and, according to German officials, about 100 Ansar al-Islam members are based in the country. The group is believed to have recruited volunteers in Italy and Britain. And its founder/leader Mullah Krekar has lived as a refugee in Norway since 1991.
Ali Dashti has also kindly sent along this additional material:
A statement by Ansar al-Islam group in Iraq alleged in a statement on the Internet it had assassinated Mamhoud al-Madaeini the representative of Ayatullah Ali al-Seistani, while the Muslim Scholars Commission condemned the incident and described it as a criminal act.
A statement bearing the signature of Ansar al-Islam group, the unknown Abi Saad Waqqas squad, described al-Madeini as “one of the main supporters for the elections” and also threatened that his assassination will not be the last by this group.
The statement, threatened what it called “traitors and hirelings, who sold the honor and the conscience, preferred life on earth and sought to support the Jews and Christians against their Muslim brothers.” The statement also warned against taking part in the elections set on January 30th.
Mullah Krekar, who has admitted that he is the “former” leader of Ansar al-Islam, has been living for years in Oslo, Norway, spending Norwegian welfare money and occasionally suing people for suggesting that he is a terrorist, of course using welfare money to hire his lawyer:
Norway’s controversial refugee mullah Krekar has lost his lawsuit against Progress Party leader Carl I. Hagen. Hagen’s characterization of Krekar as a terrorist was ruled protected by free speech and the Oslo court instructed the former Ansar al-Islam leader to pay court costs totaling NOK 199,600 (USD 29,500). “Hagen called Krekar a terrorist and a guerrilla leader in a TV2 interview in October 2003, and said that he should be arrested and charged in either Norway or the USA.
Mullah Krekar convicted of terrorism in Jordan
Mullah Krekar, former leader of the militant Kurdish group Ansar al-Islam, presented his book “Med egne ord” – In My Own Words – at a press conference on Thursday. The autobiography includes a series of shocking revelations, including the admission that Krekar tried to get funding from Osama bin Laden, newspaper VG reports. This 2004 Al Jazeera TV appearance by Mullah Krekar caused even more confusion when he was referred to as the head of the militant Ansar al-Islam, a connection he allegedly severed years before.
A group that Spanish police is investigating in connection with last week’s terror attacks in Madrid has reportedly tried to establish itself in Norway. One suspect allegedly tried to move to Norway with the help of terror suspect Mullah Krekar’s brother.
Mullah Krekar, founder of Ansar Al-Islam, the fanatical terror group linked to al-Qa’eda and blamed by America for a number of attacks on its troops, is being held in an Oslo prison while police investigate if he has any role in the Iraqi resistance. Last week, CIA officials passed the messages from Krekar, a Kurd who was granted political asylum from Saddam Hussein in Norway in 1991, to Norwegian prosecutors. The investigation into Krekar – arrested earlier this month on charges of conspiracy to murder a Kurdish politician in 2002 – has widened to take in his alleged role in plotting recent attacks, in Europe as well as Iraq.