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Profile of a Jihadist: Terror suspect revealed

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Photo: Youtube capture
19:39 CET+01:00
According to a report in the Austrian daily Kronen Zeitung, the ring-leader of the 13 alleged jihadists who was arrested in a series of raids in the early hours of Friday morning was a major player in a global terror network. The Local looks at the profile of the alleged Bosnian-Serb mastermind.

The 105 square meter apartment in Vienna's modern Donau City residential neighbourhood was invaded without warning around 4 a.m. on Friday morning by Austria's elite heavily-armed police special forces team WEGA.

Their target, a 33-year-old Bosniak imam (preacher) known by the nom-de-Guerre of Abu Tejma, is officially unemployed, but has been very busy over the past few years.  According to security sources, Mirsad O. is allegedly at the heart of a network of Islamic extremists who have been promoting jihadism, actively recruiting cannon-fodder for the wars in Iraq and Syria.

Furthermore, he is likely to be charged with coordinating financing for jihadism and possible terror operations far away from the peaceful city he makes his home.

Despite having no apparent income, the welfare recipient Tejma maintains an expensive car, as well as five children with another one on the way, his pregnant young wife swathed in a full-body veil.

Wahabi influence

Originally from the small Serbian town of Tutin in Sandzak region, Tejma was known in Bosnia-Herzegovina as a preacher of hatred and intolerance, who very soon found himself allied with the extreme form of Islam known as Wahabism, which has been aggressively promoted -- and heavily funded -- in former Yugoslavia by Saudi Arabia.

According to Austrian anti-terrorism authorities, Tejma turned up on their radar more than three years ago, when he began uploading videos onto his Youtube channel.  Since two years, intelligence officials began to tap his communications, monitoring his phone calls and presumably developing a network of his associates and friends, patiently gathering evidence.

One of those connections is allegedly a direct line to the caliph of Isis terrorism, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from Syria, making Abu Tejma a very important player in the Austrian jihadist scene.

The quiet intelligence operation culminated in a complex and carefully coordinated series of raids at multiple addresses in three cities throughout Austria, with a total of 900 police involved.

Tejma speaks excellent German, with dozens of his Youtube videos still online, guiding the faithful and attracting the disaffected to a life of jihad.  According to media reports, two teenage girls originally from Bosnia started attending sermons given by the charismatic Imam.  Within a few short months, they were radicalized, and traveled to Syria to marry jihadists.

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Isis Funding

Based on the evidence gathered by authorities, Tejma is far more than a sympathizer, but has been actively engaged in coordinating the collection of funding for Isis, as well as recruiting jihadists to fight in Iraq and Syria.  

Even more sinister was his recent questioning of the faithful in Vienna's mosques about whether they had daughters of marriageable age, presumably to entice and reward the jihadists joining the fight under the black banner of Isis. 

Tejma now sits in prison, while police and prosecutors sift through the evidence, and begin questioning his associates.  Police in Austria believe that they have struck a major blow against a likely terrorist network -- but are leaving nothing to chance, in case sympathizers remain at large, as they have placed key prosecutors under police protection for the duration of the investigation.

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