Germany indicts ‘home-grown’ Islamists
Two Germans and a Turkish national were indicted for plotting a terrorist bombing aimed at Americans in Germany.
Karlsruhe, Germany -- German federal prosecutors indicted three men Tuesday, two of them Germans who had converted to Islam, for a plot to detonate half a ton of explosives at a place frequented by US nationals.
Police, who had eavesdropped on the plotters' communications and quietly confiscated the main ingredient in the explosive, arrested the men a year ago.
If the bombing had succeeded, it would have been Germany's bloodiest experience of Islamist terrorism yet.
Fritz Gelowicz, 29, Daniel Schneider, 22, both Germans, and Adem Yilmaz, 29, a Turkish national, are to be tried by a state superior court in the western city of Dusseldorf, a spokesman for the prosecutors in Karlsruhe said.
Many Germans remain shocked that the men had ordinary German upbringings, unlike the radicals who were born in Arab lands and moved to Germany to plot the September 11, 2001, suicide attacks on New York and Washington using hijacked airliners.
Police around Europe say "home-grown" terrorism has become as big a threat as that from radical immigrants.
Gelowicz, said to have led the plot, converted to Islam and allegedly resolved five years ago to join the "jihad" or holy war against the West.
The precise allegations against the men were not disclosed but the indictment accuses them of membership in a terrorist organization on German soil and abroad, which are two separate charges.
Schneider was also indicted for the attempted murder of a policeman when he grabbed a gun and fired it while fleeing arrest on Sept. 4, 2007.
Earlier statements by prosecutors said the group was assigned to carry out the attack by the Islamic Jihad Union, a group of Uzbek origin that has its camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
They bought 12 drums of hydrogen peroxide to mix explosives before police surreptitiously replaced it with a diluted chemical to thwart the men.
Chemists said the trio could have mixed 550 kilograms of that explosive with the same blast effect as 400 kilograms of TNT.
Federal magistrates sitting on the case have said the trio had planned to detonate several bombs "in the near future."
Investigators have not identified the potential targets but believe booby-trapped rental cars were to be parked at the doors of bars and nightclubs frequented by US citizens or outside an airport.