BERLIN — Three suspected Islamic terrorists from an Al Qaeda-influenced group nursing a "profound hatred of U.S. citizens" were arrested on suspicious of plotting imminent, massive bomb attacks on U.S. facilities in Germany, prosecutors said Wednesday.
The three men had some 1,500 pounds of hydrogen peroxide -- easily enough to make a bomb with the explosive power of 1,200 pounds of TNT, prosecutors said at a news conference.
"We were able to succeed in recognizing and preventing the most serious and massive bombings," Federal Prosecutor Monika Harms told reporters.
She declined to name specific targets but said the suspects had an eye on institutions and establishments frequented by Americans in Germany, including discos, pubs and airports.
Earlier, Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung was quoted by ARD television as saying Frankfurt International Airport and the large U.S. air base at Ramstein, in southwestern Germany, were targets. Harms would not confirm the report.
Officials said the 35 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide, stored in a hideout, easily could have been mixed with other additives to produce a powerful bomb.
"This would have enabled them to make bombs with more explosive power than the ones used in the London and Madrid bombings," Joerg Ziercke, head of the Federal Crime Office, Germany's equivalent of the FBI, said at the news conference.
The three suspects -- two German converts to Islam, ages 22 and 28, and a 29-year-old Turk -- first came to the attention of authorities because they had been caught observing a U.S. military facility in Hanau, near Frankfurt, at the end of 2006, officials said.Ramstein Air Base
All three had undergone training at camps in Pakistan run by the Islamic Jihad Union, and had formed a German cell of the group, which officials said was influenced by Al Qaeda.
The Islamic Jihad Union was described as a Sunni Muslim group based in Central Asia that was an offshoot of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an extremist group with origins in that country.
"The group, which is influenced by Al Qaeda, set up a German cell in winter of 2006 with the goal of finding recruits here to carry out attacks," Harms said.
The three had no steady work and were collecting unemployment benefits while their main occupation was the plot, officials said.
"This group distinguishes itself through its profound hatred of U.S. citizens," Ziercke said.
He said members of Germany's elite GSG-9 anti-terrorist unit arrested two suspects at a holiday home in central Germany on Tuesday.
A third suspect fled through a bathroom window but was apprehended about 300 meters (yards) away.
Germany, which did not send troops to Iraq, has been spared terrorist attacks like the train and subway bombings in Madrid and London -- although its involvement in the attempt to stabilize Afghanistan has led to fears it might be targeted.
German and U.S. officials have warned of the possibility of a terrorist attack, and security measures have been increased.
In July 2006, two gas bombs were placed on German commuter trains but did not explode. Officials said that attack was motivated by anger over cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper. Several suspects are on trial in Lebanon, and a Lebanese man has been charged in Germany.
Wolfgang Bosbach, a top legislator from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, noted the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks next week, as well as deliberations by the German parliament in the next few weeks over whether to extend its troop mandates in Afghanistan.
"We are in a highly sensitive period," he said.
Merkel said in an interview released Wednesday that German troops would remain in Afghanistan for several more years, despite recent setbacks in the region. "To walk away would send the wrong signal," she told N-24 television.
Robert Payne at Fraport AG, which operates Frankfurt International Airport, said that it was "business as usual" but had no further comment about the arrests or any details about the alleged claims of the facility being a target.
Navy Capt. Jeff Gradeck, spokesman for the U.S. military's European Command in Stuttgart, said German authorities had contacted them concerning the alleged plot, but he had no further information.
Ramstein is one of the best-known U.S. Air Force bases worldwide because it serves as a major conduit for U.S. troops moving in and out of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It is a key transit point for injured troops from Iraq and Afghanistan who are flown there to be taken to nearby Landstuhl.
The news of the arrests came a day after Denmark's intelligence service arrested eight alleged Islamic militants with links to senior Al Qaeda terrorists, saying it had thwarted a major attack.
Ziercke said that although there were similarities to the group arrested in Denmark, no direct connection between the two has been established.Story Here
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This is indeed GLOBAL!! And which Democrat idiot thought we needed to do away with the term "Global War On Terror"? It's taking the entire World to foil attacks by these freaks! Way To Go Germany!!!!!
Labels: Ramstein Terror Attack Foiled