The Muslim infiltrator, identified only by his first name “Bassam,” was pretending to be a refugee and had been accommodated at the German taxpayers’ expense in the picturesque municipality of Sankt Johann.
The Der Spiegel magazine(h/t New Observer) had in the interim been informed by contacts in Syria that a senior IS commander had come to Germany posing as a “refugee.” That magazine sent journalists to follow up on this lead, and, after obtaining his passport and his cell phone sim card, started piecing together the IS man’s path.
Bassam was, according to the information collected by Der Spiegel, an ISIS military commander in the district west of Deir al-Zor, a town in eastern Syria. He had originally been with the “moderate” rebels supplied, armed, and financed by the US government, but had, like almost all of them, defected first to the Al Nusra front and then to ISIS.
The cell phone sim card contained deleted photographs of IS actions in Syria which were recovered, along with pictures of the IS commander and friends in various poses. One of the many pictures recovered on the cell phone was of an IS execution in which victims were burned alive in metal cages.
Several witnesses in Syria who Der Spiegel spoke to said that Bassam had been a “notorious commander responsible for the deaths of dozens of people in Deir al-Zor and the surrounding area.”
In autumn, Bassam made it to Germany, pretending to be a refugee. Der Spiegel tracked him down and even interviewed him, before handing all their evidence over to the police, who then raided his residence.
The worst aspect of the situation is that the German security services were completely unaware of Bassam prior to the DerSpiegel investigations.
The raids were the second major police action against IS guerillas pretending to be refugees in Germany this week, after a swoop last Thursday saw several arrests in Berlin, Lower Saxony, and North Rhine-Westphalia.