Germany wants militant captured in Afghanistan: prosecutors

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Germany wants the United States to turn over a a suspected German Islamist militant who was captured in Afghanistan, the federal prosecutor's office said Monday.

The man has officially been identified only as Ahmad S., but has widely been named in the media as Ahmad Siddiqui, a 36-year-old Hamburg native who was detained in Afghanistan by US forces over the summer and is reported to be held at the US-run Bagram air base outside Kabul.

Siddiqui has been cited widely in the press as being the source of intelligence that prompted the United States and other countries to issue travel warnings to Europe over an Al-Qaeda plot to launch attacks on European cities.

Germany's federal prosecutor's office said the man was suspected of "belonging to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan foreign terrorist group."

The IMU -- a militant group founded in 1998 to overthrow the government of Uzbekistan, and which later joined the Taliban -- is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and other countries.

"According to information recently received by the federal prosecutor's office, the suspect Ahmad S. is being held by the Americans," the prosecutor said in a statement.

According to the German media, Siddiqui met Al-Qaeda's third in command, Sheikh Yunis al-Mauretani, who initiated him into a plot carry out attacks in Europe similar to those two years ago in the Indian city of Mumbai in which 10 gunmen killed 166 people and injured more than 300.

Siddiqui was then captured by US forces in Kabul in July.

He traveled to the Pakistani city of Peshawar in March 2009 before heading to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, where Al-Qaeda leaders are believed to be hiding and training foreign fighters.

Siddiqui is also reported to have known Mohamed Atta, one of the hijackers in the September 11, 2001 attacks, and to have worshipped at the same mosque -- since closed -- in Hamburg, according to the German weekly Der Spiegel.

© 2010 AFP

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