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Two Iraqi refugees in Portugal held on alleged IS link

Two Iraqis who came to Portugal as refugees were arrested in the Lisbon area on suspicion they were part of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, police said Thursday.

The suspects, aged 32 and 34, are accused of “belonging to and supporting an international terrorist organisation” and are also under investigation by Iraqi authorities, they said in a statement.

They are not believed to have committed any crime in Portugal.

Both men “were part of an Islamic State militia in Iraq” and were accommodated in Portugal in 2017 after a spell in Greece as part of a refugee programme, a police source told AFP.

IS, which controlled large swathes of Iraqi territory between 2014 and 2017, was officially defeated by government troops backed by a US-led international anti-jihadist coalition.

But cells of the organisation are still present in the country, especially in mountainous and desert areas, and claim occasional attacks.