Three men suspected of plotting "massive bomb attacks" on American facilities and linked to a domestic cell of the Islamic Jihad militant group have been arrested, German officials said on Wednesday. They were reported to have trained in Pakistani terrorist camps.
Days before the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the US, German federal prosecutor Monika Harms told reporters that the men, two German nationals and one Turk, had obtained enough materials to make a bomb with an explosive power equal to 550-kilos of TNT. The attack was imminent, she said. She could not confirm reports that the accused had been targeting the Frankfurt international airport and a major US military base in Ramstein, but said the suspects had been seen scouting out US installations such as discos, pubs and airports.
“Thanks to the cooperation of federal and local police over several months, we were able to discover and pursue the planning and preparation and in the end prevent massive bomb attacks,” she said in the city of Karlsruhe.
“There was an imminent security threat,” German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung told German TV while federal police chief Joerg Ziercke said the three were driven by their “hatred” for Americans. The arrests were made in a dramatic swoop by armed police officers from a vacation flat in Medebach-Oberschledorn in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The prosecutor said the men had been able to collect about 700 kilos of hydrogen peroxide the same household chemical used by four suicide bombers in the 2005 London public transport attacks that killed 56 people.
With Agency inputs