The Danish-Palestinian jihadist Ahmad Salem el-Haj was arrested in Copenhagen Airport yesterday afternoon after being sent back by Turkey, where he had been serving a four-year sentence for joining the ranks of Islamic State (IS).
El-Haj, 28, will be questioned today with a view to being held on remand after being charged with counts relating to terrorism and inciting crime.
PM Mette Frederiksen was quick to voice her discontent at the arrival of the IS fighter, once again underscoring the government’s focus on tackling the problem of returning fighters.
“Against our wishes, there are unfortunately foreign fighters who are coming to Denmark. Let me tell you something: you are not welcome in Denmark,” Frederiksen said on Facebook.
“To the rest of you. These people have turned their backs on us. We continue to work to find international solutions so they can be tried in the areas where they committed their crimes.”
Turks don’t want the bill
He is most remembered for appearing in a video in which he, and three other Danish foreign fighters, fired weapons at posters of former PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen and other Danish politicians.
El-Haj travelled to Syria in 2013 and was seriously injured in an explosion in 2017, which has left him confined to a wheelchair ever since. He was then arrested in the Turkish border town on Kilis in late 2017.
Turkey’s decision to send the jihadist back comes just weeks after the Danish government moved to fast-track a law that will strip foreign fighters of their dual citizenship in absentia.
Of the 1,149 IS jihadists imprisoned in Turkey, 737 are foreign nationals, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.