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28 April 2016


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Very good piece.
I think the first case of "returnees" was the "Gang de Roubaix" in 96.
The group was started by two recent converts who had been in a djihadi militia in Bosnia. The head organizer was based in Montreal.

One thing to note is that more and more often the attackers are actual brothers, or close relatives. Family is probably the toughest network to crack.

Patrick Bahzad

True, the Roubaix gang (from the same city as Mehdi Nemmouche, the killer of the Jewish Museum in Brussels) should have been seen as a "writing on the wall". They combined many of the features we now see displayed by a growing number of young men (and women): more or less self-radicalized, converts and ex-Jihad fighters coming back from a bloody civil war.

The only thing they didn't pull off, was a successful terror attack, which is probably why this lesson wasn't learned properly. But they went down guns blazing when police stormed their safe house. None of them surrendered and they died in the burning building.

Regarding family links, indeed, Jihad and radical Islam is often a family enterprise, as exemplified by numerous cases going as far back to that period of 2004-2006, which is a defining moment for the up-coming generation of European IS executives.


Thanks, Patrick. As always great work. Although is is the case in the larger field of organized crime pretty hard to wrap ones head around. Not least concerning surfacing actors and their names.

Without doubt the Jewish Museum in Bruxelles and more low profile earlier events in France should have been on my mind in your earliest encounters here.*

Encryption, my dear, on the surface without deep reflection it reminds me of earlier suggestions, like: couldn't the bad guys possibly use images to hide their messages. To ignore earlier encounters in search of solving IT problems that for whatever reason remain on my mind.

* mainly and yes OT, from a slightly more abstract position, admittedly. Whoever around here (Castillo?) sent me back to Mondoweiss more recently. And strictly I think Norman Finkelstein is an interesting case in the larger Lobby debate. First struggling against "the lobby" more precisely "the Dersh" and later with political activist circles, some around here like to tag with "Cultural Marxists". To the extend the former did not quite manage to push him off the scene the latter accomplished:

I am pretty sure that the ones with more military expertise then I have, may well challenge him on certain points:



Patrick thank you for this extraordinary analysis.
Are the methods of a drug cartel much different for say communications or logistical support?

Charles Michael

If my memory is correct the "Gang de Roubaix" was more in violent hold-up on Super Market. This could indicate that those days foreign financing was scarce.
And yes since the catastrophic Balkans wars France has been flooded by AK47, many smuggled by lorries. Thanks to the EU rules the Balkan lorry drivers are cheaper.


PB, thanks for the insightful piece.

To add to attacks smaller in scale, yet conspicuously 'overlooked', one happened in Germany earlier this month, on April 16:


"Anschlag auf Sikh-Tempel in Essen: Polizei nimmt zwischenzeitlich weiteren Verdächtigen in Gewahrsam


Freitag, 22.04.2016 – 10:05 Uhr"

"Attack on Sikh-Temple in Essen: meanwhile, police take another suspect into custody.

Friday, 04/22/2016"

Details about the suspects are given thus by SPON:

"Für den Anschlag sollen Yussuf T., 16, aus Gelsenkirchen und Mohammed B., 16, aus Essen, verantwortlich sein ; die beiden werden der salafistischen Szene Nordrhein-Westfalens zugerechnet. Sie sitzen in Untersuchungshaft und haben den Anschlag nach offiziellen Angaben teilweise eingeräumt. Nach Informationen von SPIEGEL ONLINE bestritten sie jedoch eine Tötungsabsicht. Sie hätten aus Übermut gehandelt und gedacht, das Gebäude sei leer."

"Those responsible for the attack are said to be Yussuf T., 16, from Gelsenkirchen and Mohammed B., 16, from Essen; both of them are counted among the Salafist scene of North-Rhine Westphalia [federal state of Germany]. They are in investigative custody and in part conceded having carried out the attack. According to information by SPIEGEL ONLINE they refuted any intention to kill. They would have acted out of mischief and thought that the building was empty."

That latter bit...yeah right. About the damage done by these two never-do-wells, this info is given at the end:

"Am Samstag war vor dem Tempel eine selbstgebaute Bombe detoniert und hatte während einer indischen Hochzeit drei Menschen verletzt, einen von ihnen schwer. Die Polizei spricht von einem Terrorakt . Polizeipräsident Frank Richter sagte: "Die Beschuldigten haben klare Bezüge zur Terrorszene ."

"On Saturday, a home-made bomb detonated in front of the temple wounding three people attending an Indian wedding, one of them critically. The police calls this a terrorist act. "The suspects have clear links to the terrorist scene", chief of police Frank Richter said."

What's perplexing about this entire incident is that, mostly, news coverage on it has been absent on a wider scale. Because there's more to these two punks, as it happens:


"Mutmaßliche Bombenleger sind IS-Sympathisanten
Die jungen Männer, die den Anschlag auf ein Sikh-Zentrum in Essen verübt haben sollen, sympathisieren mit der Terrormiliz Islamischer Staat. Die Jugendlichen geben jedoch ein anderes Tatmotiv an."

"Suspected bombers are IS-sympathizers
The young men who are said to have carried out an attack on the Sikh-centre in Essen sympathize with the terrorist militia "Islamic State". The youths, however, state another motive for the deed."

Which is a repetition, basically, of the incredulous claim that they were just "boys being boys" and couldn't possibly have noticed that there was a wedding ceremony inside.

Patrick Bahzad

They were a kind of prototype group of what was to come, mixing violent crime with poorly implemented and failed terror attacks. Could have happened differently though, sometimes it doesn't take much for things to get real ugly.

Patrick Bahzad

with drug cartels being a very elaborate form of organized crime and domestic terrorists having sometimes a similar background, as former gang members for example, you might argue that they could rely on similar types of support, just as exemplified in the case of the Brussels fugitives. They got help from their buddies, family members and sympathizers to their cause.
Regarding communications, the principles of covering your tracks apply to any illegal activity, the more illegal and dangerous, the more it's necessary.
That being said, I'm not saying terrorism is a form of organised crime, don't get me wrong on that.

Patrick Bahzad

Yes I am aware of that one and there was a 15 year old female teenager in Hannover who almost stabbed to death a LE officer a couple of months back.

You can throw in the recent arrests made in Bremen, where Germany's ex-top AQ recruiters was taken into custody in a case of attempted murder of rival Salafis.

That was this week.


sorry, Patrick. When using the term it wasn't my intention to send members of the SST community onto wrong tracks.

What I was reminded of though were my struggles in dealing with the multitude of names and links in exactly the type of studies in the field bth refers to. And slightly less of the mistaken identities based on fast assumptions concerning names. It felt at the time, at least in some cases. Seems they have learned by now, at least to the extend I followed matters then, by using additionally some type 'noms de guerre'.

Charles Michael

Yes, completly agreed and you did a very good piece of information;
waiting for the second part.

incidentaly, on RT flash just now: 2 brits arrested for financing the Brussels terrorists about 4.500 €



Well, you just have to keep on struggling to catch up. We are not going to dumb SST down for you. pl


You don't need to. But I will interpret this as: please stop your mental meanderings. ;)

Strictly I am pretty aware that you may have at times expanded your level of tolerance concerning my cluttering threads way beyond your usual "red lines". ;) And yes, I should respect that a lot more and try to somewhat better control my mental meanderings. Transcription: Simplistic dot connections by a nitwit?


Good article.

Additional point - worth remembering that there was an AQI/ISI link to the 2007 SVBIED Glasgow Airport Attack (the same team also left a car bomb in London).

The attacker who survived was an Anglo-Iraqi doctor who qualified in Baghdad and reportedly had links to AQI. Abu Hamza al-Muhajir later claimed the attack in an al-Furqan audio (24.10.2008) as well as claiming another attack in the UK was foiled.

As ever, little is new - most all the people arrested afterwards were relatives.

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