Chronicle of a foiled plot - how Iraqis were tailed
8 December 2004, KARLSRUHE - The German chief federal prosecutor's description of events suurrounded what appears to have been an attempt to assassinate Iraq's interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi, was unusually detailed. Point by point Kay Nehm made it clear just how advanced plans were to carry out an attack on Allawi during his visit to Germany late last week. His report shows that the plans allegedly hatched by three Iraqis arrested in Germany on Friday were so rushed they probably would have had diffic
8 December 2004
KARLSRUHE - The German chief federal prosecutor's description of events suurrounded what appears to have been an attempt to assassinate Iraq's interim prime minister, Iyad Allawi, was unusually detailed.
Point by point Kay Nehm made it clear just how advanced plans were to carry out an attack on Allawi during his visit to Germany late last week.
His report shows that the plans allegedly hatched by three Iraqis arrested in Germany on Friday were so rushed they probably would have had difficulty carrying them out.
However, it also reveals the suspects to be more than fringe figures, with the plot leader said to have close links with the Ansar al-Islam terrorist group in Iraq.
The chronicle of the foiled plot begins on 3 December 2003 when police in Munich arrested a 30-year-old Iraqi Kurd identified as Lokman M., an alleged Ansar al-Islam member.
German prosecutors believe he was responsible for raising funds and equipment for Iraqis fighting against US troops in Iraq as well as smuggling fighters into Iraq. As a result, investigators step up their monitoring of Ansar al-Islam activists.
On 18 October, investigators discover a message on the internet calling for the murder of Allawi.
On Sunday 28 November - four days before Allawi's arrival in Germany - police tape a suspicious telephone call. A 30-year-old Iraqi living in Berlin, Rafik Y., informs a fellow Iraqi in Augsburg, Mazen H., about the forthcoming Allawi visit. Investigators hear that contact is to be made with Ata R., a 31- year-old Iraqi living in Stuttgart.
Ata R., according to prosecutors, is an important figure within Ansar al-Islam. He is responsible for the collection of donations for activists in Iraq and has close contacts with the group's leadership in the country.
On Monday 29 November, Ata R. and Mazen H. converse by telephone in coded language about how to gather information about the Allawi visit and procure weapons. State police have the call taped.
On Thursday 2 December, the day before Allawi's arrival in Berlin, the telephone calls become more frantic. Rafik Y. gets the go-ahead for the attack from Ata R. and Mazen H., but time is short.
The same evening, according to investigators, he plans an attack at a meeting originally planned between Allawi and exiled Iraqis. The method of attack is not known. But the meeting is called off for security reasons.
Then investigators hear of a second plan: Friday morning December 6 at a meeting Allawi is scheduled to have at Deutsche Bank in Berlin.
Federal prosecutors, federal police and state police in Baden- Wuerttemberg and Bavaria are in close contact. On the evening of December 5, Rafik Y. is observed reconnoitring the streets around Deutsche Bank. He informs Mazen H. that he has "viewed the building site".
At the same time federal police department chief Joerg Ziercke is at a law conference in the Black Forest town of Triberg, chatting with journalists over dinner about the federal police's responsibilities in preventing terrorist attacks. A tense Ziercke is unable to enjoy the regional cuisine amid repeated calls on his mobile phone.
At 3 a.m. on Friday 6 December, special operations police storm nine apartments in Berlin, Stuttgart and Augsburg. Ata R., Rafik Y. and Mazen H. are arrested.
The three men are being held on remand on suspicion of being members of a terrorist organisation.
"We are convinced we have prevented an attack on the Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi," Nehm said Tuesday.
Subject: German news