Bomb suspect warned friend to stay away

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A suspected plot to bomb a US military base in Germany this week was foiled because one of the co-conspirators warned a close friend to stay away from the target.

A suspected plot to bomb a US military base in Germany this week was foiled because one of the co-conspirators warned a close friend to stay away from the target.

A Turkish national and his American-German fiancée were arrested for allegedly planning to bomb the supermarket at the US Army's European HQ near Heidelberg on the anniversary of 11 September.

The authorities suspect the store was among several possible US military and civilian targets, raising fresh alarm that al-Qa'ida terrorists and their sympathisers are planning a wave of attacks on US and European targets around the world. British security agencies are monitoring several dozen suspected al-Qa'ida activists and several hundred supporters in the UK, but do not believe that there are any cells currently operational.

They also discount claims that 500 to 600 British Muslims who attended al-Qa'ida camps all now pose a threat, but fear an attack could take place from terrorists based abroad.

"What might be planned in Madrid this morning may result in a big bang in Birmingham tonight," said one Whitehall source. "What we have seen with al-Qa'ida is that they operate internationally. We have seen support from Britain for a cell in Germany planning an attack in Paris."

In the Heidelberg case, it appears that the arrested woman, a 23-year-old civilian worker at the store, which serves 16,000 US personnel on the base, advised a friend to stay away from the shop this week.

Her indiscretion was reported to US officials, who alerted the German authorities. After the couple's arrest, a raid on their flat in the city of Walldorf revealed cases for five bombs and 130kg of chemicals and electrical materials.

The fears of attacks from other cells have deepened after US authorities arrested an Afghan-born German from Hamburg on suspicion of planning attacks. The German prosecutor's office in Karlsruhe confirmed that the suspect, named only as Safiola L, 39, had been arrested in New York in late August and was now being held in Virginia.

Safiola allegedly shared a dormitory with Mohammed Atta, the suspected ringleader of the World Trade Centre attacks, in Hamburg in 1994.

*Swedish prosecution sources said that Oussama Kassir, a friend and former cellmate of Karem Chatty, the hijack suspect arrested trying to board a Ryanair jet to Stansted with a gun 10 days ago, is to be questioned by anti-terrorist police after allegedly claiming to be a "hitman" for Osama bin Laden. Kassir is one of three unnamed co-conspirators who feature in the indictment against James Ujaama, a suspected terrorist in custody in Seattle.

Comments