Germans probing 10 suspects in bomb case

6th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

06 September 2007, Berlin (dpa) - German police are conducting investigations into approximately 10 further suspects linked to a massive bomb plot against US facilities uncovered this week, an interior ministry spokesman said Thursday.

06 September 2007

Berlin (dpa) - German police are conducting investigations into approximately 10 further suspects linked to a massive bomb plot against US facilities uncovered this week, an interior ministry spokesman said Thursday.

Those being probed included Germans, Turks and other nationalities, with some of the suspects currently in Germany and others abroad, August Hanning, a state secretary in the interior ministry, said.

Speaking to national public television broadcaster ARD, Hanning said the cell broken up by police on Tuesday posed "no further danger."

The federal prosecutors office in Karlsruhe referred to seven further suspects, five of whose names were known to police.

No arrest warrants had been issued against those in Germany as there was no clear evidence that they had been involved in the plans hatched by the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, elite GSG9 police officers moved on a house rented by three suspected members of the IJU in the village of Oberschledorn in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, detaining the men and seizing bomb-making chemicals and detonators.

The arrests were the culmination of a six-month investigation involving hundreds of police officers in one of the largest police operations ever seen in Germany.

Federal police chief Joerg Ziercke said the men had been planning bombings that would have dwarfed the terrorist attacks in London in July 2005 and in Madrid in March 2004.

There were calls for legislative changes in response to news of the plot.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble renewed his demand for police powers to deploy a "government trojan" computer programme to spy on the computers of terrorism suspects.

Others demanded that attending a terrorist training camp abroad - the three arrested had all attended camps in Pakistan during 2006 - should be made a criminal offence under German law.

The rising number of converts to Islam also raised concern. The daily Berliner Zeitung reported that 4,000 Germans had converted last year, compared with just 1,000 in 2005.

It was common knowledge that the German authorities were monitoring converts to Islam closely, it said.

Guido Steinberg, who researches Islamic issues, said extremists were targeting new converts, and terrorist expert Rolf Tophoven said converts tended to be fanatical.

According to Salim Abdullah, who runs the Islam Archive, there are currently 3.3 million Muslims in Germany, 18,000 of them of German origin.

The interior ministry estimates the number of converts at 15,000 but notes that woman converts tend to bring up their children as Muslims and estimates that 40,000 native Germans are living according to Muslim custom.

dpa

Subject: German news

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