Magistrates interrogate al-Qaeda suspects

24th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

24 January 2005, KARLSRUHE - German magistrates began on Monday the interrogation of two men suspected of being al-Qaeda supporters. A 29-year-old Iraqi and a 31-year-old Palestinian were arrested in Germany on Sunday. Both men were believed to have been involved in planning suicide bomb attacks in Iraq and also to have had contact earlier with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a German-based Qaeda operative. A police van was seen arriving on Monday morning at the offices of the federal examining magistrate in Karlsruhe

24 January 2005

KARLSRUHE - German magistrates began on Monday the interrogation of two men suspected of being al-Qaeda supporters.

A 29-year-old Iraqi and a 31-year-old Palestinian were arrested in Germany on Sunday. Both men were believed to have been involved in planning suicide bomb attacks in Iraq and also to have had contact earlier with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a German-based Qaeda operative.

A police van was seen arriving on Monday morning at the offices of the federal examining magistrate in Karlsruhe, southern Germany, and one of the suspects was taken inside. He wore handcuffs. The proceedings were not open to the media.

Under German legal procedure, the magistrate must hear prosecutors and the suspect and decide if the men should be remanded in custody.

The men were detained in the western cities of Mainz and Bonn, federal prosecutors said on Monday.

The contact with bin al-Shibh, who is believed to be in US custody somewhere outside of the US  following his September 2002 arrest in Pakistan, was taken by police as suggesting a link to fugitive al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Prosecutor Kay Nehm said on Sunday investigators believed the Iraqi, identified as Ibrahim Mohamed K. was operating from Mainz with the job of organising attacks in his homeland and trying to recruit people for them.

In addition, he was suspected of trying to help acquire nuclear materials. An attempt to get hold of 48 grams of enriched uranium in Luxembourg failed, however, Nehm said.

The Palestinian, Yasser Abu-S., was suspected of being a potential suicide attacker. Nehm said both men had been under surveillance for some time. 

The Iraqi suspect had been living in Germany in 1997. While his application for asylum had been rejected, authorities permitted him to stay in the country because of the danger to him there.

Mohamed K. had spent a year in an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan before the 11 September 2001 terror attacks and had personally met Osama bin Laden, prosecutors said.

Nehm said the al-Qaeda leadership dissuaded Mohamed K. from becoming a suicide attacker himself, persuading him instead to return to Germany to organise money and other logistic support for the terror network. He returned to Germany in September 2002.
Abu S., married to a German medical student and in possession of an Egyptian passport, was believed to have been recruited by Mohamed K. for a suicide attack in Iraq, Nehm said.

He said the Palestinian, living in Bonn, was about to travel to Egypt to try to collect some EUR 800,000 on five life insurance policies in a fraudulent fatal car accident scheme. Nehm said Abu S. was then to use the money to support jihad activities.

The federal prosecutor said 65 police were involved in the raids which targeted the two suspects' apartments in Mainz and Bonn and two further flats in Bonn. Police also confiscated other materials, including a computer.

Nehm said both men had been under surveillance by police in Mainz and Bonn for some time.

DPA

Subject: German news

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