Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a 29-year-old British rapper and one of the most wanted jihadists in Europe, was given his ears. The agents of the General Information Commissariat of the National Police observed him closely during the five days that he remained in Spain, before being arrested in an apartment in Almería early Monday morning: “The shape of his ears was one of the aspects that allowed us to identify him ”, say the agents. He had settled, together with two other men, in a tourist apartment near Puerta Purchena, in the center of the capital of Almería. With forty more kilos and the mask on to respect the confinement imposed by the coronavirus crisis, the agents had to work hard to make sure it was him. This Wednesday he was sent to prison, along with the two people he was with, by the judge of the Central Court number 3 of the National Court, María Tardón, accused of “belonging to a terrorist organization” in a case that remains secret.
Three months ago, the agents brought the investigation to justice and remained attentive to the possible arrival of Abdel Bary. “We did not know where he could try to enter, but the information indicated that he could try at any time.” He is one of the “slightly more than one hundred” Islamist terrorists that the police control to prevent his return to Europe. Following the decline of the Islamic State (ISIS) and the death of its leader and creator of the caliphate Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in October 2019, “returnees” are one of the main threats to Western societies.
Abdel Bary is the son of the Egyptian Adel Abdel Bari, imprisoned in the US for participating in the massacres against the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, with more than 200 deaths, and responded to the call of the Islamic State in 2013. He left his emerging career As a rapper and his wealthy home in a west London neighborhood – where he moved with his mother and siblings from Egypt as a child – to fight ISIS in Syria. “He was very active for two years, as a member of The Beatles [apodo policial de un grupo de cinco combatientes británicos], but in 2015 he lost track in Turkey, ”says an agent.
He combined blatant exhibitionism with photos, videos and proclamations on social media, with a great knack for diving into the dark internet. “The next thing that was known about him is that he re-entered Syria in December 2019. He was located there after many thought that he had been killed in the bombings,” says an investigator. “Later, Almería”, he concludes.
Sources from the so-called Operation Altepa assure that he got there using the illegal immigration circuits from Algeria, where he presumably would have spent some time preparing the trip. The crossing was supposedly accompanied by the two Algerian citizens who shared the apartment with him. One responds to the surname of Ceddiki, is 22 years old and is the “achiever”. The latter had a false European passport and was the one who was in charge of renting the tourist apartment for a month. The card fraud specialist with connections in North Africa was responsible for logistics, the researchers say.
The other detainee has yet to be identified. The agents have thrown their fingerprints against international police databases and are awaiting the results, although they suspect that “it could be another returnee, since he was recently located in Turkey,” they say.
No one offered the slightest resistance when he was arrested, nor did they show the slightest surprise: “Total coldness”, describe the agents. And all three showed absolute secrecy about the alleged jihadist activities, both before the police and before the judge. They didn’t say anything about it, according to police sources.
In the apartment, the agents found “no precursors, no explosives, no weapons,” but they did seize mobile phones and a computer that “may clarify something about the intentions of Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary,” who accused of belonging to a terrorist organization did not however, in Spain, he has no other precedent than having spent five days hidden in an Almeria apartment “.
“He has extensive experience in combat, in the creation and handling of explosives, a great ability to obtain funds and moves like a fish in water on the dark Internet,” say the agents about the main suspect in the operation. “He is a self-sufficient terrorist, he does not need anyone, he can create his own cell,” they explain.
The United Kingdom withdrew his nationality after going to Syria, so he will not claim it. If third countries in which he may have pending accounts did not request his extradition, the only place to which he could be returned is to Egypt, where he was born and with whom Spain has agreements. The second part of the Alpeta operation still remains: to travel the reverse path followed by the detainees until their arrest. Their tracks are now crossed with the police databases, and the seized materials are being analyzed, we will have to wait to see the fruits they bear.
Make the holy war to the rhythm of rap
Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary transferred his ability to deliver messages with rap in London to his option for jihad in Syria. From there, in the middle of the combat front, he wrote allegations, threats, hung photos of himself holding severed heads, exhibited long weapons … A whole warlike and exhibitionist rosary, which also served the security forces to follow in his footsteps. Although the National Court related him in another case to one of the young jihadists detained in Spain, specifically with a girl from Huelva, sources close to this investigation assure that they have not verified that it was him. And they warn that also, in his day, he was confused with the terrorist who cut the neck of the American journalist James Foley. This action, dated August 2014, was perpetrated by another of the five members of the so-called group The Beatles.