by Florian Flade
Two European Islamists have been charged in Berlin with being members of Al-Qaida. Yusuf O. of Berlin and Maqsood L. from Vienna have been trained in the terror camps of Waziristan and are allegedly part of an Al-Qaida plot to carry out attacks in Europe.
Berlin Islamist Yusuf O. traveled to Pakistan in May 2009 alongside his friend Fatih T. and joined the „Taifatul Mansourah“ Group in Waziristan tribal area. Later the German Jihadi militants together with several other German Islamists who arrived in Pakistan in September 2009 founded a new group named „German Taliban Mujahidin“ (DTM).
In a propaganda tape released just prior to the September 2009 German Parliamentary Elections the DTM threatened attacks in Germany. Spokesman in that video was 26 year-old Yusuf O. aka „Abu Ayyub al-Almani“.
According to the complaint filed by German prosecutors in November Yusuf O. left the DTM somewhere around May 2010 and joined Al-Qaida. During the training program he received, Yusuf O. met Maqsood L., a 22 year-old Austrian national whose family immigrated to Vienna in the 1990s after fleeing the Taliban-rule in Afghanistan. Maqsood L´s father fought as a Afghan soldier against the Soviet invasion in the 1980s. Nearly 30 years later his son – spotting a beard – joined the Austrian military in 2008 and declared he was ready to defend the nation.
In the Waziristan terror camps of Al-Qaida Maqsood L. and Yusuf O. befriended and were choosen by Al-Qaida´s Chief of External Operational, Sheikh Younis al-Mauretani who was arrested in Pakistan back in September, to be part of a Europe attack plan.
The Al-Qaida commander tasked Yusuf O. and Maqsood L. to return to Europe and recruit Islamists for terrorist attacks in European cities. Documents discovered by German counter-terrorism officials lead to the conclusion Al-Qaida wanted the German Islamists to carry out kidnappings and killings. Al-Mauretani´s plot involved assault attacks in which hostages would be killed in long standoff with police – the „Mumbai Style“ of terrorist attacks.
In May 2011 Maqsood L. and Yusuf O. traveled to Budapest (Hungary) via Iran and Turkey. Yusuf O. made his journey to Austrian capital Vienna and arrived in the city carrying a audio tape recorded by Maqsood L.. He played the tape to Maqsood´s old friends, urging them to support the Jihad and join the terror network.
After Yusuf O. returned to Budapest he sent Maqsood L. to Berlin. Apparently Yusuf O. thought sending a foreigner instead of traveling himself would not alert the authorities. Yusuf O. was wrong. Maqsood´s task was recruit about a dozen of Yusuf´s friends from several radical mosques in the German capital. The Austrian Jihadi was able to rally supporters amongst Berlin´s Islamist community and collect about 1.000 EUROs in donations, before he was arrested on May 16.
Yusuf O. was captured a little later in Vienna where he returned to from a trip to Budapest on May 31. Austrian authorities sent him back to Germany where he and Maqsood L. will be on trial soon.