German police foil 'terrorist'plot to kill Iraqi leader

3rd December 2004, Comments 0 comments

3 December 2004 , BERLIN - An apparent bid by extremists to assassinate Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi on Friday was foiled after police arrested three suspected Iraqi terrorists, German Federal Prosecutor Kay Nehm said Friday. "We saw a considerable threat to Allawi," said Nehm at a news conference in Karlsruhe, adding: "There were increasing indications an attack was being planned." German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder met Allawi in Berlin amid tight security after police earlier on Friday storm

3 December 2004

BERLIN - An apparent bid by extremists to assassinate Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi on Friday was foiled after police arrested three suspected Iraqi terrorists, German Federal Prosecutor Kay Nehm said Friday.

"We saw a considerable threat to Allawi," said Nehm at a news conference in Karlsruhe, adding: "There were increasing indications an attack was being planned."

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder met Allawi in Berlin amid tight security after police earlier on Friday stormed nine apartments and business in Berlin, Stuttgart and Augsburg, arresting three members of the banned terrorist group Ansar al-Islam.

Nehm declined to say if those arrested had planned a bomb attack but he said telephone taps had alerted authorities and that parts of Allawi's two-day visit had been cancelled.

Among events scrapped were a welcoming ceremony with military honours for Allawi in the chancellery courtyard as well as planned meeting with German business leaders.

Nehm said police had been observing Ansar al-Islam members in Germany since December 2003 and that comments by one of suspects in Stuttgart tipped them off to the targeting of the Allawi visit.

Investigations were continuing but so far nothing had been found which could have been used in an attack, said Nehm.

He added that the trio appeared to have made an "ad hoc" decision to attack the Iraqi leader and there did not seem to have been any long-term planning.

Nehm declined to give any details on the three men arrested other than to say that they were Iraqi nationals. The three will be taken before a judge Saturday who will decide if they can be detained.

Founded in 2001 in the Kurdish region of Iraq, Ansar al-Islam is based on ultra-orthodox Islamic ideology and seeks to set up a fundamentalist state similar to that of the former ruling Taliban in Afghanistan.

Neither Schroeder nor Allawi commented on the arrests during a brief news conference after their meeting at which the Chancellor allowed only a single question before whisking his guest away.

Little concrete seemed to have come out of the talks with Schroeder offering Allawi training for bomb disposal experts. Germany strongly opposed the 2003 Iraq war and Schroeder has declined to send troops to Iraq.

"It makes no sense to talk about the past. We all are aware of the different positions we had," said the German leader.

Schroeder said Germany wanted to build on its training of Iraqi police and army officers being carried out in the United Arab Emirates and would be willing to expand this to include ordnance disposal.

Germany has considerable expertise in this field but Schroeder stressed that safety concerns dictated training take place at German military bases - not in Iraq.

Schroeder also pledged to set up German-Iraqi Chamber of Industry and Commerce and said German and Iraqi business leaders would meet in Germany either in late February or early March to finalise details.

"We believe more can be done and we will do this where it is possible," said the chancellor. Allawi welcomed Schroeder's comments, adding: "Germany could play a big role in the reconstruction of Iraq."   

DPA

Subject: German news

 

 

0 Comments To This Article