How Germany uncovered the terrorist plot
07 September 2007, Berlin (AFP) - German authorities said on Thursday they were hunting for seven accomplices of three men arrested on suspicion of planning massive attacks on US citizens. More details have emerged of the nine-month investigation which led to the men's capture:
07 September 2007
Berlin (AFP) - German authorities said on Thursday they were hunting for seven accomplices of three men arrested on suspicion of planning massive attacks on US citizens. More details have emerged of the nine-month investigation which led to the men's capture:
- December 31, 2006: Agents from Germany's domestic intelligence services discover three men spying on a US military base in Hanau, near Frankfurt. Among them is Fritz Martin G., a 28-year-old German convert to Islam.
- January 2007: German authorities place listening devices in the home of Fritz Martin G. and others. They carry out raids on his home but find nothing incriminating.
- February to August 2006: Fritz Martin G., another German convert to Islam called Daniel S., and a Turkish man, Adem Y., obtain 12 barrels of hydrogen peroxide, the substance used in plots to bomb the London transport network in 2005. They store the chemical in a rented garage in Freudenstadt in southwestern Germany.
- April 20: The US embassy in Berlin announces it is increasing security at US facilities in the country in response to "a heightened threat situation."
- July: German police secretly swap the contents of the barrels of hydrogen peroxide for a harmless substance.
- August 17: Three men rent a holiday home in Medebach-Oberschledorn, a village in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia for four weeks under a false name. They pay the rent in cash.
- September 2: The men bring one of the 12 barrels to the house.
- September 3: In the western city of Dortmund they acquire detonators and electrical components. Investigators believe the men were planning to launch attacks on or around September 11, the sixth anniversary of the attacks in 2001 on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
In the evening, the car carrying the three men is stopped by police for a routine traffic offence because one of its lights is faulty. Investigators believe this incident makes the men nervous and they speed up their plans.
- September 4: The men begin building bombs in the house. The German police's GSG9 anti-terrorist unit decides to make its move.
At 2.30 pm, three vans block a quiet road leading to the house and a dozen police storm the house. Two of the men are overpowered immediately. A third escapes through the bathroom window and is chased. In the ensuing struggle, he grabs a policeman's gun and a shot is fired, injuring the policeman's hand.
- At the same time as the men are arrested, searches take place in an Islamic centre in the southern town of Ulm, which Fritz Martin G. had visited.
- September 5: Germany's Federal Prosecutor Monika Harms says a "massive" plot to bomb US installations has been foiled. The prosecutor says the men are presumed members of the Islamic Jihad Union.
- September 6: Prosecutors says they are looking for seven more accomplices or backers.
Subject: German news