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15 Feb, 2021 14:18

5-person ISIS cell in Germany plotted to kill YouTuber, played paintball to hone attack skills – prosecutors

5-person ISIS cell in Germany plotted to kill YouTuber, played paintball to hone attack skills – prosecutors

Five alleged members of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) who are suspected of plotting attacks and radicalizing Muslims have been indicted on weapons and terrorism charges in Germany, federal prosecutors said on Monday.

Four of the suspects, named only as Farhodshoh K., Muhammadali G., Azizjon B. and Sunatullokh K., were arrested in Germany on April 15, 2020, while the fifth person, Komron B. was detained on April 3.

The five in custody all hail from Tajikistan and were members of a terrorist cell in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, a statement from the federal prosecutor's office said.

The group is alleged to have radicalized young Muslims and provided financial support for the cause of "IS in Khorasan Province," a regional wing of the terrorist group active in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Prosecutors claim the group honed their military skills at paintball games in preparation for planned attacks against 'infidels' in Germany as part of their alleged mission in Europe.

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During these training sessions, the cell is said to have rubbed shoulders with associates of 20-year-old Kujtim Fejzullai, the Austrian-born gunman who killed four people in Vienna in November 2020 before being shot dead by police.

German prosecutors also said the suspects obtained instructions and the ingredients to produce "various explosives," including Molotov cocktails and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

They are also alleged to have taken on a contract kill on an Albanian businessmen for $40,000 – the proceeds of which were to be sent on to fund IS terrorists outside Germany.

But prosecutors said the assassination attempt failed due to the group not being able to identify the target, and the gun and silencer – procured from a Chechen contact in Austria – were to be used for another hit.

This new operation was to kill an "Islam-critical YouTuber" in the German city of Neuss, and pictures of his body were then to be posted online, as agreed with a high-ranking Afghan IS contact, according to prosecutors.

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The would-be killers, Sunatullokh K. and Ravsan B., apparently tracked down their victim and found his home address, but the attack was foiled by German intelligence. The pair were arrested, and the weapon seized.

One member of the group in Germany allegedly organized for €18,000 ($25,000) to be taken by two couriers by plane to Turkey, where it would then be sent on to fund IS activities in Syria, prosecutors said.

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