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Vast anti-Islamist sweep in Switzerland nets 11: prosecutors

Swiss police carried out raids in several regions of the country Tuesday targeting people suspected of ties to Islamist extremists, including one foreign fighter and several minors, prosecutors said.

Around 100 police officers took part in the raids in the cantons of Zurich, Bern and Schaffhausen, conducting a total of 11 house searches, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said in a statement.

The operation targeted 11 individuals, including five juveniles who will face proceedings headed by a special office for juvenile prosecutions, the statement said.

OAG meanwhile said it had launched criminal proceedings against the six adults over suspicions that they violated Swiss law banning support of and membership in Islamic terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

One of the six was a returned foreign fighter who had been convicted previously of violating Switzerland’s anti-terror legislation.

The OAG said it had requested that he and one other individual be held in pre-trial detention and remain in custody until a final verdict is issued.

It was not clear how many of the 11 targetted suspects had been detained.

Tuesday’s operation comes less than a week after the OAG filed criminal indictments against two other men accused of supporting and participating in the Islamic State group, including recruiting fighters to the terror organisation.

And last month, the country for the first time revoked the citizenship of a dual national after he was convicted of recruiting jihadist fighters for “an Islamist terrorist organisation”.

Swiss intelligence said in May that there were 66 people in the country considered to pose a security risk due to suspected terrorist activities or beliefs.

Swiss authorities have tallied 92 jihadists who have left Switzerland since 2001 to serve as foreign fighters, including 16 who have returned to the country and 31 who have died.