Fourth man charged in plot against US targets in Germany

18th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

The 23-year-old German was extradited from Turkey last month after being arrested there in November 2007 on charges of membership of a terrorist organization and taking part in a bomb plot.

Karlsruhe -- German federal prosecutors charged a fourth man in a major plot to attack US citizens in Germany uncovered in 2007, they said Wednesday.

The 23-year-old German, identified only as Attila S., was extradited from Turkey last month after being arrested there in November 2007 on charges of membership of a terrorist organization and preparation of a bombing.

Investigators believe he procured 26 detonators recovered in September 2007 with drums of hydrogen peroxide, the substance used in the deadly 2005 attacks on London's transport system, the statement said.

Three men arrested at the time and charged three months ago are suspected of planning to use the chemicals to attack installations such as US military bases in Germany and sites popular with US citizens.

The four suspects are believed to belong to an al Qaeda-linked group, the Islamic Jihad Union.

The smashing of the so-called Sauerland cell, named after an area near Frankfurt where the chemicals were seized, has led to a string of other arrests, including two Somali-born suspects taken off a plane on Sept. 26 at Cologne-Bonn airport. The two were later released.

Germany, which opposed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq but has around 3,300 troops in Afghanistan under NATO command, has beefed up security and surveillance in response to the threat of militant attacks.

The closest it has come was in July 2006 when suitcases containing homemade bombs, placed on two regional trains at Cologne's main station, failed to detonate, averting an almost certain bloodbath. The two would-be bombers have since been arrested and sentenced to long prison terms in Germany and the Lebanon.

The September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States were planned in the German city of Hamburg by an al Qaeda cell led by Mohammed Atta, the hijacker of the first plane to strike New York's World Trade Center.

AFP/Expatica

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