Germany probing Madrid bombing suspect
14 June 2004, HAMBURG - Authorities in Germany have launched an investigation into Madrid bombing suspect Rabei Osman al Sayed Ahmed, amid reports he lived in Germany for two years.
14 June 2004
HAMBURG - Authorities in Germany have launched an investigation into Madrid bombing suspect Rabei Osman al Sayed Ahmed, amid reports he lived in Germany for two years.
The Egyptian-born suspect in the 11 March bombings lived in Germany from April 1999 to August 2001, preaching Islamic radicalism while collecting social welfare payments as a political asylum-seeker, according to reports in Focus and Der Spiegel news magazines.
Federal investigators in Germany launched their probe on Friday, Saarland Chief Prosecutor Frauke-Katrin Scheuten told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
She stressed, however, that investigators have no indication at this point that the Madrid attacks were planned in Germany.
The magazine reports quoted federal investigators as saying the 32-year-old suspect entered Germany illegally in April 1999 and was incarcerated briefly at a prison near Saarbruecken while officials attempted to determine his nationality.
He was placed in a political asylum-seeker centre in the Saarland in September 2000 where he stood out for his radical sermons during Friday prayers at the facility's mosque, investigators were quoted as saying.
Investigators lost track of him until after the 11 September attacks when they re-launched probes into terrorism suspects throughout the country, including Ahmed.
But they quickly learned that he had disappeared from the asylum centre in August 2001, said the reports.
Spanish authorities contacted their German counterparts in early 2003 seeking information on Ahmed, and were given lists of phone calls he had made to a number of persons.
But German officials stressed they at no time had sufficient grounds to hold Ahmed on suspicious of direct involvement in terrorism.
Subject: German news