Berlin terror suspects had ties to Afghanistan: report

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Two alleged Islamic militants arrested in Berlin last week on suspicion of plotting a bomb attack had links to extremist groups in Afghanistan, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported.

The report, to be published Monday, said one of the suspects, a 24-year-old German of Lebanese origin identified only as Samir M., belonged to a Berlin group of Islamists backing the German Taliban Mujahedeen in Afghanistan.

Citing documents from the investigation, Der Spiegel said Samir M. had "good contacts" with two men in Berlin who have been convicted of abetting a foreign terrorist organisation.

Samir M. was stopped at a Berlin airport in September 2009 from flying to Iran and had his passport confiscated.

He told police he wanted to go hiking in Iran and Turkey but investigators believe he aimed to join the battle against NATO troops in Afghanistan, according to Der Spiegel.

Meanwhile authorities believe the second suspect, a 28-year-old Palestinian from the Gaza Strip identified as Hani N., received training at a "terror camp" in Afghanistan and had contact with a "known people-smuggler" in Iran.

Der Spiegel quoted investigators as saying he had tried to acquire large quantities of chemicals to build a bomb including sulfuric acid and packs of dry ice containing ammonium nitrate.

It added that investigators believe the suspects had not developed a plan for an attack.

The men were detained Thursday and remanded in custody Friday, ahead of the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and a papal visit to Germany later this month.

© 2011 AFP

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