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HomeCosta RicaCosta Rica Detains Alleged Al Qaeda Linked Terrorist Wanted by FBI

Costa Rica Detains Alleged Al Qaeda Linked Terrorist Wanted by FBI

Authorities here announced the capture of an alleged member of the Al-Nusrah terrorist group on Wednesday as he walked the streets of the capital.

The detained man is Mohamed Abdelaal Mohamed Shaker, an Egyptian national wanted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for “providing logistics for that group in Syria,” according to officials.

Shaker had been under surveillance by the Anti-Terrorism Unit of the Intelligence and Security Directorate (DIS) after Costa Rica received an international alert about him. DIS coordinated with the Professional Migration Police and San José Municipal Police to apprehend Shaker downtown.

Authorities said the FBI notified them around eight weeks ago that Shaker may try to enter from Panama. It’s believed he crossed the southern border irregularly through a “blind spot.”

Al-Nusrah is a Syrian offshoot of Al Qaeda that emerged in late 2011 and has been linked to numerous violent attacks. Classified as a terrorist organization, it seeks to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Costa Rican officials periodically detain suspected members of global terror groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS. Back in 2019, two Iraqi nationals were arrested in San José accused of having ties to the Islamic State.

With this latest capture, authorities have shown continued vigilance against terrorist suspects potentially using Costa Rica’s open society and porous borders to hide out. Officials say international intelligence sharing was key to identifying the threat.

It’s unclear whether the detainee will be extradited to the U.S. or Syria. But Costa Rica vows to keep cooperating closely with allies to combat extremism and prevent the nation from becoming a terrorist safe haven.

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