by Florian Flade
Almost one year ago Germany´s most prominent Jihadi militant Eric Breininger was killed in the Pakistani tribal areas. In April 2010 the White Convert from Neunkirchen and three other Jihadis died in a gun-battle with Pakistani troops at a checkpoint near Mir Ali. Apart from Breininger alias “Abdul Ghafar the German” two other terrorists and former residents of Germany died that day. One was a Berlin convert of Dutch origin named Danny R. (“Abu Abdullah the German”), the other was German-born Turkish national Ahmet M. (“Selahuddin Turki”).
Ahmet M. who was extradited from Germany to Turkey in 2000 because of his long crime record, was possibly the most important figure of the “Islamic Jihad Union” (IJU) or later named “Taifatul Mansourah” network in Waziristan. M. was the propaganda chief of the organization and believed to be the head of “Elif Medya”, the media outlet of IJU. During terror trials in Germany information it was revealed M. was not only responsible for publishing German-language propaganda videos and statements but he was the Amir (leader) of the IJU-offshoot “Deutsche Taliban Mujaheddin” (DTM).
M. is dead now, buried somewhere in Waziristan. Yet his group, the DTM still exists. German intelligence officials told me some weeks ago they do not agree with the analysis of a broken and dying IJU. “We don´t see that. DTM and the others still exist”, I was told.
Recently the group announced on the Internet a return of the media production “Elif Medya” possibly with new German-language videos. In the same statement a new Amir of the DTM is introduced – “Abdul Fettah the German”.
The new DTM leader is a German citizen of Turkish origin from Berlin. Fatih T. left Germany in May 2009 and soon after appeared in a DTM propaganda tape for the first time sitting next to Eric Breininger and then IJU-leader Amir Ebu Zer. In April 2010 in a new video “Abdul Fettah” called for German Muslims to come to Pakistan and fight Jihad. Filmed standing next to a helicopter wreckage in eastern Afghanistan, Fatih T. said “the bodies of the kuffar smell terrible”.
Fatih T. graduated from school in Spring 2004, was a registered University student and received state-funded student loans even after he left Germany and moved to Waziristan. German police said in Pakistan T. had difficulties access his bank account.
Another German member of DTM was identified after he threatened Germany with terror attacks in a video in September 2009. “Ayyub the German”, a fellow Berlin resident named Yusuf O. is suspected of having traveled to Pakistan with Fatih T..
Question remains how many Germans are still actively fighting under the banner of DTM or IJU. Around 18-20 Islamists from Berlin might have entered the training camps of DTM, among them couples and a 16 year-old convert girl.
Hayrettin Burhan S. is one of those Jihadi tourists. The 23 year-old German-Turkish from Berlin Kreuzberg has an international arrest warrant placed on his head. Last year the U.S. military in Germany distributed an internal paper highlighting the danger posed by the Berlin Jihadi. Wiretapped Internet conversation of Hayrettin S. and Islamists living in Germany indicated he was ready and willing to commit a terrorist attack inside Germany. S. remains at large.
A Berlin Jihadi couple was arrested at a Turkish airport last September when the two tried to return to Germany. Thomas U. and his pregnant wife immigrated to Waziristan in September 2009. Why the two decided to turn their backs to Jihad in Pakistan and return to Europe is unclear. From Internet messages, e-mails and phone calls intercepted by counter-terrorism officials is it likely the situation in Waziristan is becoming more and more unbearable for the Berlin militants.
DTM as well as IJU lack funding. The groups send out pleas for food and meat during Ramadan. Neither al-Qaida nor “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan” have ever urged supporters in the West to donate groceries or money to buy cattle. The situation of the “Deutsche Taliban Mujaheddin” therefore seems to be rather desperate. A revival of the media campaign could proof otherwise – but till today no new video or even a statement has been released.