Portuguese redeploy “spies” in a bid to monitor young Portuguese joining Islamic State

After three years of austerity cutbacks, Portugal’s secret service (SEID) is back deploying agents overseas, and will be concentrating on intelligence gathering in Turkey and Algeria first, writes Público.

The idea is to help support international efforts to combat the Islamic jihad in Syria and Iraq.

Thus “antennae” will be placed in key spots, with the objective of “watching jihadists and monitoring the recruitment of young Portuguese”.

As national media explain, it was secret service collaboration that led to the discovery of the so-called “Sintra connection” which revealed how a group of young nationals used a ‘safe house’ in Sintra as an important base in the network that help British youngsters cross Europe and enter Syria via Turkey.

According to a report by the Sunday Times fed by intelligence gathered by British, Turkish and Portuguese agents, a number of Portuguese nationals had worked their way up in the IS hierarchy and were involved in producing chilling execution videos.

One young father had actually become infamous Jihadi John’s right hand man, said the ST.

Since publication of the stories, Portugal’s situation regarding young men and women recruited by IS has come into the spotlight.

Every now and then news stories appear announcing the death of a Portuguese-born, or Portuguese-by-birth citizen fighting with the terrorist organisation, but still the authorities stand by their decision not to automatically renounce citizenship of any Portuguese returning to the country after being involved with IS or any other terrorist group.

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