by Florian Flade
„You are too late“, a neighbor told me, „your colleagues have all been here this morning.“ That morning, September 7, police raided a apartment in a building in Urbanstrasse in Berlin-Kreuzberg. Neighbors and journalists witnessed police officers arresting the 24 year-old German-Lebanese Samir M., whom people living next door describe as a calm and nice person.
Samir M. who lived in the multi-apartment building is suspected of having planned a terrorist attack in Germany. He is one of two terror suspects arrested in Berlin four days prior to the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Samir´s friend, Hani N., was caught by a police squad in Berlin-Neukölln. At the same time a police squad raided the Ar-Rahman Mosque in Berlin-Wedding where Hani and Samir were regular visitors.
Both men are suspected of having formed a terrorist cell, planning to build a bomb. According to Berlin police Samir M. and Hani N. had ordered dry ice packs via Ebay and bought acid – a deadly combination when mixed in the right way.
Hani N., a 28 year old Palestian from Gaza who had studied medicine at a Berlin University, is the alleged head of the two-man terrorist cell. In his neighboorhood people describe N. as a very religious person, a devout Muslim who would tell teenagers to stop wearing soccer shirts bearing the names of „kuffar“ like Christiano Ronaldo. Often Hani N. was seen having his beard dyed red with hennah – a habit of the Prophet Mohammed.
Hani´s brother was killed in Gaza by the Israeli military in 2009. When Hani traveled to Gaza for the funeral, he radicalised in his religious and political views. In Gaza, Hani met his wife Aysha who is still living in the apartment, wearing the face-covering Niqab. The couple has two twin-boys Omar and Sunduc, Aysha is expecting the next baby soon.
„Hani´s brother was killed during fighting between Palestinians and Israelis“, Aysha N. tells reporters, „Hani did not want to die without having children. This is a sin according to the Quran.“
On September 30 2009 police arrested Samir M. at the Berlin Tegel Airport as part of a group of Islamists who were eager to travel to the terrorist camps of Waziristan. Investigators believe M. had been in contact with the Jihadi group „Deutsche Taliban Mujahedin“ (DTM) and knew several other terror recruits from Berlin – including Fatih K. and Alican T., both of whom have been sentenced to prison terms because of supporting a terrorist group abroad.
Shortly after the Norwegian Islamophobic terrorist Anders Breivik killed 77 people in a bomb attack and shooting mayhem on an island, counter-terrorism units read one of Hani N.´s e-mails. „Too bad it was not one of us“, he commented on the Norwegian massacre.
It is unclear how serious the threat posed by Hani N. and Samir M. really was but it seems Berlin´s police decided to act because the two-men-cell was close to building a dangerous explosive device. Police on the other hand claim the terrorist plot by Hani N. and Samir M. was in a very early stage of planning. No specific target has been choosen, no date set. The whole planning was not linked to the 9/11 anniversary or the visit of Pope Benedict XVI., police says.
„I hope my husband is not a terrorist“, Hani N.´s wife Aysha said, „These allegations are all lies.“