Danish newspaper plotter arrested twice before


Former Guantanamo detainee Mehdi Ghezali’s Swedish passport. Ghezali was arrested in 2009 in Pakistan along with Munir Awad, the primary suspect in the most recently foiled Danish newspaper plot. Image from The Associated Press/Washington Times..

One of the suspects arrested in connection with the recently foiled terrorist plot against Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, has been arrested twice before.

Munir Awad was among the suspects arrested earlier this week for plotting to kill employees at the Danish newspaper, according to The Local, a Swedish publication. Awad had been arrested twice before because of his suspected ties to the terror network — once by Ethiopian forces in Somalia and a second time in Pakistan.

On both of the previous occasions, Awad and his supporters claimed that he and his traveling companions were merely vacationing.

“Vacationing” in Somalia

In 2007, Awad and his girlfriend, the then 17-year-old Saifa Benaouda, were detained in Somalia. They were suspected of answering the call for jihad. New recruits were streaming into Somalia from around the world at the time.

But the worldwide press ran Benaouda’s story that she and Awad were just a young couple mixed up in a foreign adventure. For instance, The New York Times published an account entitled, “Young Tourists Pick Somalia, and a 3-Nation Ordeal Begins.” The Times described Benaouda as having a “blend of naivet

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • pontiff alex says:

    Three strikes… POOF! You vanished……….. =========== HAPPY NEW YEAR LWJ!!

  • kp says:

    Where is Saifa Benaouda now?

    I’m sure a couple of intelligence services would love to talk to her.

  • Girish says:

    For your last line “waiting for press to report on vacationing in Denmark” that will come from the british Guardian. They have the uncanning nack of blaming the victims for all these cowardly attacks.

  • Swede says:

    One of my great fears in recent years has been that terrorists would use Sweden as a hospitable launching pad to attack one of our Nordic neighbours. Thank goodness this was stopped in time. I hope Awad’s third “vacation” means three strikes he’s out. And I hope that our politicians have finally woken up and will do everything they can to prevent this from being repeated.

  • Charu says:

    Political correctness will be the death of us all. What wasn’t there to connect? Young Muslims, Somalia, Pakistan; three strikes already. Intelligent profiling, like the Israelis do, would be much more effective than body scans and patting down of grandmothers.

  • western mike says:

    Since terrorists are not signatories to the Geneva convention why isn’t the CIA shooting these jihadi scumbags in the back of the head or throwing them out of helicopters to go cross ocean swimming while zip tied to concrete blocks? I think the west has become so politically correct and so stupid it is no longer able to defend itself.

  • Swede says:

    I just saw that the suspects are being charged according to Denmarks “Paragraph 114” laws which can give lifetime imprisonment. (in practice 16 years).
    It’s lucky the police waited until they were in Denmark to arrest them. In Sweden they probably wouldn’t have received more than 4 years.


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