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Greece Arrests Four In Latest Anti-Terror Raids

Greek authorities have detained four terrorism suspects including a man thought to have links to a foiled terror plot in Belgium.

The Associated Press quotes a Greek police official as saying the four were arrested separately in Athens. One of the suspects matches the description of 27-year-old Moroccan-born Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who Belgian authorities says is the mastermind of a jihadi cell in that country that was taken down in a police raid on Thursday.

The AP says that "Greek officials initially thought Abaaoud was in Turkey, but the detained man's name, as well as the cellphone found on him matches descriptions that Greek police received from Belgium, the Greek official said."

Agence France-Presse quotes a Greek police source as saying that the arrests took place in the Pangrati district of Athens in the middle of the day. The source said several mobile phones were also seized.

Before the latest arrests, the Belgian news site Flandersnews.be said that Abaaoud, fought with the self-declared Islamic State in Syria before returning to Greece, goes by the nom de guerre Abu Omar Soussi.

"Abaaoud is believed to have played a co-ordinating role in the organisation and planned execution of the terrorist attacks that the cell operating from Verviers was about to carry out.

"'Abaaoud has been known to the authorities for a while,' the website says. 'His 13-year-old younger brother was in the news recently as he left to fight in Syria. British newspapers labelled him the 'youngest Syria fighter.'"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.