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Jan 12, 2024, 1:54pm EST
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Semafor Signals

Suspects in thwarted Danish terror plot linked to Hamas as group’s influence grows

Insights from Der Spiegel, CNN, and Foreign Policy

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RITZAU SCANPIX/Reuters
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Seven people linked to a foiled terror plot in Denmark last December have links to Hamas, Danish authorities said Friday.

Police arrested three people in the Scandinavian country on Dec. 14 under suspicion of planning a “terror” attack, but revealed this week that four more people were part of the group detained, without providing further details.

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Hamas is a designated terror group in the U.S. and Europe.

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Hamas could have used Germany as ‘theater of operations’ to attack Europe

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Source:  
Der Spiegel

The Denmark arrests coincided with similar detainments in Germany, where three suspects linked to Hamas were taken into custody for allegedly plotting to attack Jewish sites across Europe. Another Hamas-linked suspect was also arrested in Rotterdam. While Hamas has long viewed Germany as a “safe haven” where members could raise funds and expand networks, there was nothing to suggest that it had plans to attack the country, Der Spiegel reported. But with the recent arrests, it appears that Germany could have become “a theater of operations” from which the group planned terror attacks across Europe, the outlet said. According to internal government documents reviewed by Der Spiegel, Hamas-affiliated groups are conducting a coordinated influence campaign on supporters in Europe, with a focus on Germany due to its large Palestinian diaspora.

Hamas’ influence and global footprint have grown since the Gaza war

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Sources:  
CNN, Foreign Policy

Surveys and U.S. intelligence reports have shown that Hamas’ influence has grown since its October attack on Israel, with different assessments showing that the group has effectively positioned itself as a defender of the Palestinian cause across the Arab and Muslim world. U.S. counterterrorism officials are also concerned that Hamas’ success in its Oct. 7 attack could serve as inspiration for other global terrorist groups.

Some analysts believe that the militant group, which has Islamic roots, wants its ideology, cause, and brand to go global the way the Islamic State did. But Hamas’ ideology is “not the global jihad embraced by al Qaeda, the Islamic State, or their respective affiliates worldwide,” an expert on religious extremism wrote for Foreign Policy, explaining that the Islamic State views Hamas and its members as apostates for participating in elections and relying on Iran for patronage.

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