'Terror cell' found in cradle of 9/11

Members of Hamburg group 'had attended military training camps'

German intelligence services were yesterday reported to have discovered a new Islamic terrorist cell operating from the port of Hamburg – the same city from which the devastating 9/11 attacks on the United States were secretly conceived and planned eight years ago.

The existence of the new militant group in the city was revealed in a secret report prepared by Hamburg-based intelligence agents which was leaked to German television's investigative documentary programme Report Mainz and Die Welt newspaper.

It said the cell, which had ten members, was headed by a German of Syrian extraction, identified only as Rami M. All ten were said to have left Hamburg earlier this year to attend paramilitary training camps in the Hindu Kush. However two of the cell's members were reported to have recently returned. All of them were said to have used Hamburg's Taiba Mosque as a meeting place, the same location frequented by the 9/11 leader Mohammed Atta and his accomplices before they carried out the attacks on New York's World Trade Centre and Washington.

"It is to be assumed that these persons are absolutely prepared to carry out suicide or other attacks at home or abroad," the report was cited as saying. "The members of the group have a basic commitment to jihad and belong to Hamburg's potentially violent pro-jihad scene."

The disclosures came amid heightened post-general election nervousness in Germany about the possibility of terrorist attacks and the release of some eight al-Qa'ida internet videos in German threatening violence in response to the continued deployment of 4,200 Bundeswehr troops in northern Afghanistan.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Germany's security services were heavily criticised for failing to catch the perpetrators. Since then they appear to have redoubled their efforts and operate closely with their US counterparts.

The leaks about the Hamburg cell came only days after German anti-terrorist police took the unprecedented step of throwing a massive security cordon around the Munich Oktoberfest. Revellers at the world's largest beer festival held in the Bavarian capital each autumn were searched and fighter jets were put on standby near the site.

"The danger is absolutely real," said Joachim Hermann, the Bavarian Interior Minister yesterday. "We know that increasing numbers are attending these training camps."

Germany's Federal Criminal Bureau says around 180 Islamic militants have either attended or are planning to attend paramilitary al-Qa'ida-run training camps in the Hindu Kush and that about 80 had returned to Germany.

The latest of eight recent al-Qa'ida videos in German surfaced at the weekend. They included threats delivered by a 32-year-old German Moroccan called Bekkay Harrach, a student who once lived in Bonn but who is now thought to be living on the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The clips also contained statements by militants hitherto unknown to the intelligence services.

In one of his statements, Harrach evidently wanted to evoke the 2004 Madrid bombings which killed 191 people days before a Spanish general election. He threatened attacks within two weeks of Germany's general election and warned Muslims living there be on their guard.

German security experts have interpreted the latest threats as an attempt to put pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel's new coalition of conservatives and liberals, which is committed to keeping troops in Afghanistan for the forseeable future.

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little