Belfast Telegraph

Irish Islamic State suspect captured in Syria had been under Garda surveillance

‘Serious player’: Bekmirzaev
‘Serious player’: Bekmirzaev

By Tom Brady

An Irish citizen captured by Kurdish-led forces in Syria was seen as a "serious player" by gardai investigating the activities of suspected jihadis when he lived in Ireland.

The 45-year-old held an Irish passport and lived in south Dublin for a couple of years.

He was monitored by police until he and his family left the Republic in 2013 and travelled to Syria. He was named last night as Alexandr Ruzmatovich Bekmirzaev, thought to be originally from Belarus.

He worked in the fast food business in Dublin, but was suspected by anti-terrorist Garda units as a key player in providing logistical support to activists linked to Islamic State.

Bekmirzaev was one of half a dozen people who left the Republic to fight for Islamic State and are believed to be still alive and operating in Syria.

Bekmirzaev was suspected of producing false or forged documentation, including identity papers, and fundraising for those involved with IS in Syria and Iraq.

He was arrested by the Kurd-led Syrian Democratic Forces as he and four others, two US citizens and two Pakistanis, fled towards a region controlled by Kurds and US forces to avoid capture by Syrian government forces. The captures on December 30 only became known in the Republic yesterday.

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