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Terrorism watch Jihadist suspect released by federal authorities

Winterthur has been an area of concern for potential jihadists

(Keystone)

Federal authorities released from custody a 31-year-old man they detained on suspicion of leading a group of Islamic jihadists based in Winterthur.

Radio Top, a regional Swiss radio stationexternal link, confirmed the decision by federal prosecutors in a report on Thursday.

Authorities arrested the man in February of last year and accused of training for jihad in Syria and recruiting young people to follow him. The prosecutor’s office said the man was released under certain conditions that were not made public and which, if violated, would send him immediately back to prison.

According to authorities, the man had admitted that he lived in a camp in the Syrian city of Aleppo where he functioned as an armed guard, but he denied taking part in armed conflict.

However, the prosecutor’s office said it doubted the man’s statements because it had photos showing him in battle and communications about him training with the aim of waging holy war.

Winterthur has emerged as a place where Swiss authorities fear young Muslims have been radicalized, amid claims that an Islamic State cell operated out of a mosque in the city. The man also was a martial arts instructor who had contact in Winterthur with others who later traveled to Iraq or Syria.

More than five years of conflict in Syria have killed more than a quarter-million people. It also has allowed IS to claim its own territory across parts of Syria and bordering Iraq and created Europe's biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War.

swissinfo.ch/jmh

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