German authorities shut '9/11 plotters' mosque: city

9th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

German police shut down a mosque in the northern city of Hamburg Monday frequented by suicide hijackers from the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, authorities said.

An affiliated cultural centre was also banned.

"The Hamburg interior department closed the Arab-German cultural club Taiba," the department said in a statement. "The former Al-Quds mosque was also closed."

The authorities did not explain their decision but sources said the club in the port city's Sankt Georg quarter was using the mosque to recruit Islamic extremists for holy war.

Twenty police officers searched the mosque in the early-morning raid.

A press conference was scheduled for 0830 GMT with officials including the head of the Hamburg anti-terror coordination unit.

Three of the September 11 hijackers including their ringleader Mohammed Atta, who piloted the first plane into New York's World Trade Center, met frequently at the Al-Quds mosque before moving to the United States.

Authorities said the prayer house served as a recruitment centre for fellow jihadists, including accomplices of the hijackers.

The mosque, with about 45 members, is still the main meeting point for Islamic extremists in the city, according to Hamburg authorities.

A group of 10 men from the mosque travelled to Pakistan or Afghanistan last year, probably to attend militant training camps, security officials said.

At least one of the men joined the radical Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in Pakistan and later appeared in propaganda videos for the group, the officials said.

© 2010 AFP

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