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TEK Director-General: Intelligence Warranted Arrest of Suspected Terrorist

Tamás Vaski 2021.06.03.

Further details have surfaced on the 21-year-old man, identifying as an Islamist, who was captured by operators of Hungary’s Counter Terrorism Center (TEK) at his residence in Kecskemét on Tuesday after he was suspected of preparing a terror attack. The authorities had been monitoring his activity after he began participating in online forums affiliated with the militant Islamic State.

János Hajdu, Director-General of TEK, said that the man “wanted to cause an explosion at a large group event, and had been planning to crash into a large mass of people in Hungary.”

Suspect Affiliated with Islamic State Forums

Hajdu said the authorities have been investigating the issue for weeks after noticing that the man had joined an online forum of the Islamic State only accessible under strict conditions. The director-general said the 21-year-old had volunteered to produce a bomb “and use it at a large event in Budapest or elsewhere in Hungary.”

TEK Stops Suspected Terror Attack from Occurring in Hungary
TEK Stops Suspected Terror Attack from Occurring in Hungary

A hearing was held for the man who was suspected of scaring the community through a pre-planned crime that would have killed and harmed many people.Continue reading

Large amounts of information had accumulated to warrant reasonable suspicion that a terror attack was being planned, Hajdu said. As an example, he brought up that the suspect had already begun purchasing materials necessary to build a pipe bomb, which will be confirmed following the scene’s open investigation.

It may be surprising to hear, but Hajdu said “we are talking about a completely normal, average 21-year-old Hungarian man.”

No Specified Event Targeted for Attack

Pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet had previously brought up a suspicion that the individual had been planning to bomb the Puskás Arena in Budapest during the European Football Championship, which 67 thousand people are set to attend.

Hajdu, however, did not confirm this suspicion. He had previously said that he cannot yet name a specific event where the suspect aimed to set off a bomb. Still, the TEK director-general brought up the likelihood that the man was looking for an opportunity.

A similar attack has not yet happened in Hungary. A tragedy which Hajdu mentioned as an example of reference was the 2016 truck attack in Nice, France, which claimed 86 victims and injured 200 people.

Hajdu said TEK had employed a tactic in Kecskemét, the suspect’s place of residence, which did not give any opportunity for resistance, involving a bomb disposal squad, a service dog, a robot, and everything at the service’s disposal.

Security Expert: The Individual Likely Acted Alone

István Gyarmati, a security policy expert, told Blikk that the suspect most likely acted alone, and that “it is unlikely that he was a part of a group.” It seems to him that the suspect “inherited doctrines and patterns of behavior of the Islamic State from videos available on the internet.”

The security expert explained that the bomb the man had been preparing would never be like that of a professional, “but it would be no comfort for one who was injured from it or could have even died because of it.”

Thankfully, the situation is now under control, and the suspect is being kept in custody for one month while the investigation is taking place.

In the featured photo, the armored car of the TEK operators who went to Kecskemét, where they arrested the 21-year-old man suspected of preparing a terror attack. Featured photo via the Hungarian Prosecution Service’s Youtube channel.

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