Airport terror suspects 'planned massive attacks'

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The Independent Online

Three suspected Islamic terrorists were arrested for plotting "massive" bomb attacks on Frankfurt's international airport and the Ramstein US Air Base, German authorities said today.

German federal prosecutor Monika Harms said the three had trained at camps in Pakistan and procured some 700 kilos of hydrogen peroxide for making explosives.

"This is a good day for security in Germany," she said.

Officials said the 35 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide, stored in a hide-out, could have been mixed with other additives to produce a bomb with the explosive power of 550 kilos of TNT.

"This would have enabled them to make bombs with more explosive power than the ones used in the London and Madrid bombings," Joerg Ziercke, the head of Germany's Federal Crime Office, said at a joint press conference with Harms.

The three suspects - two Germans and a Turk - first came to the attention of authorities because they had been observing a US military facility at the end of 2006, officials said.

All three had undergone training at camps in Pakistan run by the Islamic Jihad Union, and had formed a German cell of the group.

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 three had no steady work and were drawing unemployment benefits while their main occupation was the plot, officials said.

"This group distinguishes itself through its profound hatred of US citizens," Ziercke said.

Ziercke said members of Germany's elite GSG-9 anti-terrorist unit arrested two suspects at a holiday home in central Germany yesterday.

A third managed to escape through a bathroom window, but was apprehended about 300 yards later by federal police who had roped off the area.