Tag Archives: Ahmad Wali S.

Der Terror-Insider

von Florian Flade

Emrah E. hat die Bundesrepublik in Terrorangst versetzt. Als er sich per Telefon aus dem afghanisch-pakistanischen Grenzgebiet beim Bundeskriminalamt meldete, hatte er brisantes zu berichten: Al-Qaida plane Anschläge in Deutschland. Eine marokkanische Terrorzelle sei bereits in der Bundesrepublik und wolle schon bald mit selbstgebastelten Bomben losschlagen. Ein weiteres Terrorziel sei die Erstürmung des Reichstages in Berlin. Heute ist der 23jährige Deutsch-Türke aus Wuppertal ein weltweit gesuchter Terrorist.

Am 17.November 2010, zwei Tage nachdem sich Emrah E. das letzte Mal per Telefon aus Pakistan gemeldet hatte, rief das Bundesinnenministerium zur Pressekonferenz. Der Minister erklärte überraschend, es gebe “Grund zur Sorge” denn islamistische Attentäter hätten Deutschland im Visier. Die Hinweise auf bevorstehenden Al-Qaida Terror seien inzwischen konkreter denn je.

Deutsche Ermittler konnten die Warnungen von Emrah E. unmöglich ignorieren. Sie waren zu detailliert, zu bedrohlich und fügten sich nur zu gut in die damalige Bedrohlungslage ein. Als Reaktion wurde der Berliner Reichstag tagelang für Besucher gesperrt, Polizeibeamte mussten Sonderschichten einlegen und patrouillierten verstärkt an Bahnhöfen und Flughäfen. Zu einem Anschlag kam es allerdings nicht.

Ein halbes Jahr nach der Terrorwarnung der Bundesregierung sollten sich die Prophezeihungen des mysteriösen Terror-Informanten zumindest teilweise bewahrheiten. Nach monatelanger Fahndung nahmen die Ermittler am 29.April 2011 in Düsseldorf und Bochum drei Terrorverdächtige fest. Die Deutsch-Marokkaner Abdeladim el-K. (29) und Jamil S. (31) sowie der Deutsch-Iraner Amid C. (19) hatten Anschläge mit selbstgebastelten Bomben geplant und warteten offenbar nur noch auf den Befehl aus Pakistan. El-K., der Kopf der “Düsseldorfer Zelle”, besuchte 2010 ein Ausbildungslager der Al-Qaida in Pakistan und war danach in der Bundesrepublik untergetaucht.

Es stellen sich viele Fragen. Wer ist Emrah E., der Anrufer, der das deutsche Innenministerium in bislang beispiellose Terrorangst versetzte? Woher wusste der Islamist von der marokkanischen Al-Qaida-Zelle in Düsseldorf? “Welt Online” recherchierte die Geschichte des “Terror-Insiders”. Es ist die Biografie eines jungen Mannes, der aus dem Ruhrgebiet auszog, um ein Krieger Gottes zu werden.

Die Geschichte von Emrah E. beginnt in der Stadt Karliova in der osttürkischen Provinz Bingöl. Dort kommt der gebürtige Kurde 1988 zur Welt. Als Emrah zwei Jahre alt ist, zieht die Familie nach Deutschland. Der Großvater war in den 1970er Jahren bereits als Gastarbeiter nach Bayern gekommen, zog dann nach Wuppertal. Im Stadtteil Vohwinkel beginnen auch Emrahs Eltern ein neues Leben.

Emrah wuchs mit vier Geschwistern auf, zwei älteren Schwestern und den beiden jüngeren Brüdern Bünyamin und Yusuf. “Ich bin genau in der Mitte und das schwarze Schaf der Familie”, schrieb Emrah vor drei Jahren über sich im Internet. Seine Teenagerzeit war geprägt von Kriminalität. “Ich habe viel Schlechtes gemacht, alles was sich ein Mensch vorstellen kann”, erinnert er sich, “Eine Anzeige kam nach der anderen.”

Er habe sich nur noch für Schlägereien, Drogen und Discotheken interessiert, wollte möglichst schnell möglichst viel Geld verdienen. Die Eltern sorgen sich um ihren ältesten Sohn. Damit sie Disziplin und Arbeit kennen lernen, schickte der Vater Emrah und seinen kleinen Bruder Bünyamin zum Arbeiten auf einen Bauernhof in Velbert, unweit von Wuppertal.

Bei Bauer Friedrich Bleckmann halfen die kurdischen Brüder in den Ferien Schafe zu schlachten. “Bünyamin war ein ruhiger, höflicher und netter Junge”, berichtet Bleckmann, Emrah hingegen sei oft aggressiv und aufbrausend gewesen. “Er war das Gegenteil von Bünyamin”, so der Schaf-Züchter, “er konnte Arbeit gut übersehen, war verträumt.”

Als seine älteste Schwester einen angehenden Prediger heiratete, folgte Emrah dem frommen Schwager zur Studienreise nach Pakistan. Der Aufenthalt in einem islamischen Land sollte den jugendlichen Straftäter zur Besinnung bringen, so hofften die Eltern. “Mein Vater wollte dass ich von der schiefen Bahn wegkomme”, erzählt Emrah, “er schickte mich nach Pakistan auf eine Koranschule.” Hier traf der Teenager aus Wuppertal auf eine internationale Truppe von Muslimen aus den USA, Großrbitannien, Australien, Tansania, Somalia und Tschetschenien.

“Mein Schwager hatte Angst, dass ich nach Afghanistan fahren würde, weil ich einige Freunde hatte, die gerne über den Dschihad redeten”, so Emrah. Als er wieder zu Hause im Ruhrgebiet war, verflog das religiöse Erweckungserlebnis aus Pakistan schnell: “Nach drei Monaten war ich wieder der Alte”. Emrah kümmerte sich weder um Schule noch um eine Ausbildung, hatte keine Arbeit und kaum Geld.

Der Vater hatte irgendwann genug. Er setzte seinen ältesten Sohn vor die Tür. Einen Monat lang lebte Emrah auf der Straße, beging weiter Überfälle. “Eine Pistole und in zehn Minuten war alles klar”, erinnert sich der Deutsch-Türke, “Mal kamen 15, mal 20 bis 30 oder hundert Euro.” Als Straftäter zu sterben und die Aussicht von Gott bestraft zu werden, quälten ihn jedoch zunehmend: “Ich dachte mir “Ey, was ist mit Allah? Was ist mit Allah? Emrah, was tust du da?”

Im Alter von 17 Jahre wurde Emrah E. das erste Mal wegen “schwerer räuberischer Erpressung” festgenommen. Er erhielt eine Jugendstrafe von zwei Jahren und drei Monaten, wurde aber aufgrund eines sozialpädagogischen Gutachtens frühzeitig entlassen. Noch im Gefängnis habe er gebetet, so Emrah: “Oh Allah, wenn du mich hier rausholst, werde ich dir dienen und ein guter Diener sein.” Wieder in Freiheit war das religiöse Versprechen nur von kurzer Dauer. Emrah wurde erneut kriminell.

Am 6.September 2007 verurteilte ein Gericht Emrah E. zu einer zweiten Haftstrafe von drei Jahre und sechs Monate. Zelle Nr.347, sieben Quadratmeter groß, mit grün gestrichenen Wänden, im vierten Stock der Haftanstalt Siegburg wurde Emrahs Zuhause. Hier vollzog sich die Wandlung zum tiefgläubigen Muslim. Er betete viel, las oft ganze Nächte lang religiöse Schriften. “Ich bekam inneren Frieden und fühlte mich gut”, sagt Emrah über die Zeit, “Ich lebte unter dem Schatten des Koran. Das war mein Motto!”.

Wieder beantragte Emrah eine frühzeitige Haftentlassung und kam im Sommer 2008 frei. Keinen Tag seiner zweiten Haft bereue er, sagt Emrah später, er sei dort “zum Mann geworden”. Der Wandel hin zum religiösen Eiferer wurde nun für jedermann sichtbar. Sowohl Emrah als auch sein drei Jahre jüngerer Bruder Bünyamin trugen von nun an islamische Kleidung und Gebetsmützen. Sie engagierten sich in der Moscheegemeinde der “Schabab an-Nur Moschee” in Wuppertal, hörten die Predigen des salafistischen Imams Abu Jibril.

Im Frühjahr 2010 war Emrah urplötzlich verschwunden. Aus dem Umfeld der Familie wurde bekannt, dass er sich offenbar nach Ägypten in eine Sprachschule absetzte und dann weiter nach Pakistan reiste. Diesmal zog Emrah nicht – wie noch in Teenager-Tagen – zum Studium in eine Koranschule. “Emo”, wie ihn Eltern und Geschwister nannten, wollte in den Dschihad ziehen und gegen Ungläubige kämpfen. Er schloss sich der “Islamischen Bewegung Usbekistans” (IBU) an, einer Terrorgruppe in deren Reihen schon mehrere Islamisten aus Deutschland kämpften.

Der kleiner Bruder Bünyamin, genannt “Büno”, fühlte sich angespornt durch Emrahs Ausreise in den Dschihad. Im Spätsommer 2010 reiste Bünyamin ebenfalls nach Pakistan. In den Terrorlagern Waziristans machten “Büno” und “Emo” nun gemeinsam Dschihad-Karriere. Bünyamin nannte sich fortan “Imran der Deutsche”, Emrah gab sich den Kampfnamen “Salahuddin al-Kurdi”.

Zuhause in Wuppertal wusste die Familie offenbar was das islamistische Bruderpaar anstrebten. “Meine Kinder kämpfen gegen Amerika”, soll der Vater stolz im Bekanntenkreis geprahlt haben.

Zur Familie hielten Bünyamin und Emrah auch aus Terrorcamp weiterhin Kontakt, oft auch per Telefon. Mitte September 2010 etwa. Da rief Emrah den daheimgebliebenen Bruder Yusuf in Wuppertal an und drängte ihn, Geld zu schicken. Notfalls müsse Yusuf mit einer Spielzeugpistole einen Supermarkt überfallen, sagte Emrah, Hauptsache es komme bald Geld.

Am Stadtrand der Ortschaft Mir Ali in der Region Nord-Waziristan mietete sich Emrah zu dieser Zeit mit seiner Ehefrau, einer Deutsch-Marokkanerin aus Köln, und dem gemeinsamen Kind in einem Gehöft ein. Am 4.Oktober 2010 empfing er dort einige Glaubensbrüder zum Abendessen. Die Runde bestand aus seinem Bruder Bünyamin, der erst vier Wochen zuvor in Waziristan angekommen war, dem Hamburger Shahab D. alias “Abu Askar” und fünf pakistanische Taliban-Kämpfer. Sie alle saßen im Innenhof, “in meinem Garten”, wie Emrah später berichten wird.

Tage später schilderte Emrah den Eltern im heimischen Wuppertal-Vohwinkel per Telefon was in jener Nacht geschah: Für einen kurzen Augenblick habe er das Haus verlassen, berichtete der Islamist. Dies rettete ihm offensichtlich das Leben. Kurz darauf schlugen die Raketen ein. Eine US-Drohne hoch am Nachthimmel über Waziristan hatte sie abgefeuert. Er habe einen lauten Knall gehört, erzählt Emrah, dann habe er die zerstörte Lehmhütte gesehen.

In den Trümmern des Hauses starben fünf Islamisten. Emrah fand den Hamburger Shabab D. (27) mit einem abgerissenen Bein. Der Islamist lag bereits im Sterben. Der kleine Bruder Bünyamin (20) war auf der Stelle tot. Sein Kopf war von einem Raketen-Splitter zerfetzt worden.

Bünyamins Tod erschütterte Emrah tief, vielleicht so tief dass er genug hatte vom Leben als Gotteskrieger. Das jedenfalls behauptete Emrah, als er Anfang November 2010 überraschend aus dem pakistanischen Mir Ali beim BKA in Deutschland anrief. Er wolle nichts mehr mit Terrorismus zu tun haben, erzählte er, wolle aussteigen und brauche Hilfe von den deutschen Behörden.

Im Gegenzug bot er wertvolles Insiderwissen: Al-Qaida habe einen Anschlagsplan für Deutschland der kurz vor der Umsetzung stehe, tönte der Islamist. Nordafrikaner seien von Al-Qaida ausgebildet und in die Bundesrepublik entsandt worden. Weitere Attentäter würden bald nachfolgen.

Emrah E. erzählte, es existiere eine “marokkanische Zelle” in Deutschland. Diese warte nur noch auf den Befehl eines Al-Qaida-Mannes aus Pakistan um mit selbstgebauten Bomben, die per Handy gezündet werden, los zu schlagen. Das “deutsche Parlament” sei eines der Ziele.

Im Gegenzug für seine detaillierten Informationen und weitere Aussagen verlangte Emrah E. nicht gerade wenig von den deutschen Behörden. Sicherheit für seine Familie müsse gewährleistet werden, außerdem wolle er in die Türkei ausgeflogen werden. Und Geld verlangte Emrah, viel Geld. Über 100.000 Euro sollten die Ermittler für seine Aussagen zahlen.

Beim BKA wurde man stutzig. Ist der Anrufer aus Waziristan ein echter Insider oder nur ein Schwätzer? Will der islamistische Fanatiker ernsthaft aussteigen? Wie weit ist der deutsche Dschihadist tatsächlich über die geheimen Pläne der Al-Qaida informiert? Was wenn es keine Anschlagspläne gibt, und Emrah E. nur Angst und Panik schüren will?

Es sprach einiges dafür, den Warnungen des angeblich geläuterten Gotteskriegers keinen Glauben zu schenken. Schon in Deutschland fiel Emrah E. als Prahlhans auf. Die Ermittler bezweifelten dass er wirklich Einsicht hatte, in die Planungsebene der Al-Qaida. Auch die gewaltige Geldsumme, die Emrah für die Informationen verlangte, nährte das Misstrauen der Sicherheitsbehörden.

Andererseits fügten sich die Erzählungen des Emrah E. erschreckend gut ins Gesamtbild der damaligen Sicherheitslage ein. Der US-Geheimdienst CIA hatte den deutschen Kollegen schon Wochen vor den Anrufen von E. mitgeteilt, es gebe Hinweise auf eine Terror-Truppe die in Pakistan für ihren Einsatz in Europa ausgebildet wurde. Auch die CIA sprach von einer “marokkanischen Zelle”.

Und dann waren da noch die Aussagen zweier deutscher Terrorhäftlinge. Der Deutsch-Syrer Rami Makanesi war im Mai 2010 in Pakistan festgenommen worden. Er hatte im Verhör erzählt, Al-Qaida rekrutiere Freiwillige für einen “Europa-Plot”. Al-Qaidas Nr.3, Sheikh Yunis al-Mauritani, habe von Osama Bin Laden persönlich die Erlaubnis für Anschläge auf wirtschaftliche Ziele auch in Deutschland erhalten, so Makanesi. Ähnliches hatte auch der aus Hamburg stammende Dschihadist Ahmad Wali Sidiqqi nach seiner Festnahme im Juli 2010 in Afghanistan berichtet.

War also doch etwas dran an den Geschichten von Emrah E.? Während die deutschen Behörden zögerten auf das Angebot des Wuppertalers einzugehen, verlief der Kontakt zu ihm immer schleppender. Mehrfach meldete sich Emrah per Telefon, zuletzt am 15.November 2010, dann herrschte Funkstille. Es kam zu keinem Deal mit dem BKA. Die Terrorwarnungen aber wurden zwei Tage nach Emrahs letztem Anruf umgesetzt – letztendlich ausgelöst durch seine Aussagen.

In Waziristan verfiel Emrah E. nun in Panik, telefonierte in Todesangst mit der Familie in Deutschland. Jetzt, wo al-Qaidas Terrorpläne durch ihn aufgeflogen waren, gelte er bei den Dschihadisten als Verräter, sagte er. Al-Qaida jage ihn nun, er müsse um sein Leben fürchten und sei in höchster Gefahr.

Die deutschen Ermittler verfolgten seine Spuren weiter, hörten Telefonate ab und lasen seine E-Mails mit. Dabei fühlten sie sich zunehmend bestätigt in ihrer Vermutung, der Islamist habe mit seinem Gerede über Terroranschläge in Deutschland nur Angst schüren wollen.

“Was macht Deutschland? Haben sie viel Angst?”, fragte Emrah am 5.Dezember 2010 eine Schwägerin in Wuppertal per Telefon. Am nächsten Tag meldete sich Emrah erneut. Diesmal bei seinem Bruder Yusuf. Ihm erzählte er von weiteren Drohnenangriffen die er nur knapp überlebte. “Ich bin in das Haus gegangen und die Rakete hat bumm gemacht und das Haus getroffen”, so Emrah. “Ich habe den Jungen gefragt – der ist auch Deutscher – ob er ok ist.”

In Deutschland begannen die Fahnder zur selben Zeit die Kontaktpersonen von Emrah E. ausfindig zu machen. Eine erste Razzia fand im Dezember 2010 in den Wohnungen der Angehörigen statt. Weitere Durchsuchungen erfolgten am 26.Januar 2011 im Zuge von Ermittlungen der Staatsanwaltschaft gegen acht mutmaßliche Islamisten aus dem Großraum Wuppertal.

Wie jüngst durch einen Bericht des “FOCUS” bekannt wurde, stand Emrah E. wohl seit Januar in E-Mail-Kontakt mit dem Grünen-Politiker Hans-Christian Ströbele. Am 30.Januar erläuterte Emrah E. in einer E-Mail an Ströbele die Details zum Drohnenangriff im Oktober des vergangenen Jahres. E. erzählte dem Bundestags-Abgeordneten vom Tod seines Bruders. Geweint habe er als er den toten Bünyamin in den Trümmern der Lehmhütte sah, heißt es in der E-Mail an Ströbele.

Trotz des offensichtlichen Schocks durch den Tod des Bruders erwecken Emrahs jüngste Lebenszeichen aus Pakistan nicht den Eindruck als wolle er dem Dschihad wirklich abschwören. Er sei mit “20 oder 30 Kämpfern in den Krieg gegangen”, prahlte er. “Die Mudschaheddin sind standhaft und sie fürchten nichts und niemanden”, schrieb er noch im Februar, “Wir besitzen eine Kalaschnikow gegen die Hightech-Waffen der Ungläubigen. Wir schlagen heute die Amerikaner und die Welt!” Reue klingt anders.

Irgendwann im Februar reist Emrah E. offenbar samt Ehefrau und Kind von Pakistan aus in den Iran. Dort trennten sich die Wege des deutschen Gotteskriegers und seiner Familie. Während die Ehefrau und der Sohn zurück nach Deutschland reisten, stieg Emrah E. in ein Flugzeug und reiste nach Ostafrika.  Am Flughafen der Hauptstadt Nairobi verschwand der Islamist. Vermutlich reiste Emrah E. weiter über die Grenze nach Somalia. Die al-Qaida nahe Al-Shabaab Miliz heißt dort seit Jahren ausländische Dschihadisten willkommen.

Die Terror-Karriere des Emrah aus Wuppertal scheint also noch lange nicht beendet zu sein. Ob er sich erneut bei deutschen Behörden melden und vor Terror warnen würde, ist allerdings fraglich.

Just Not That Into Jihad – The Story Of Rami Makanesi

by Florian Flade


He wanted to talk, tell his story and tell the court about his adventure that became a nightmare for him – Rami Makanesi, a 25 years-old German national and Al-Qaida member.

On Thursday last week his trial began in Frankfurt and it will end today also due to the fact that Makanesi agreed to fully tell what he experienced in the world of Jihad, in the terror camps of Waziristan and the prison cells of the Pakistani intelligence agency. This is his story.

Rami Makanesi´s life began as so many in the Frankfurt suburbs. Born in Frankfurt-Bockenheim in 1985 to a Syrian family from Aleppo. His father is car dealer. When Rami was eleven, his parents divorced. A year later he was a regular weed consumer, smoking the drug as others smoke regular cigarettes – several joints a day. Soon, cocain will follow.

As a teenager Rami was sentenced to youth custody, never lasting longer than a few weeks. Due to drugs, parties and alcohol, he was skipping classes and was eventually expelled from Frankfurt´s Georg-Büchner-School. Later he was able to graduate from school.

“I was a party animal”, Rami Makanesi recounts today, “I went to bed stoned and woke up stoned.” Initially he had planned to study Economy and IT at the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University, but his lifestyle destroyed his educational plans although he was registered as a student at the university.

Religion was never of interest for the German national of Syrian descent. Party, friends, drugs, girls were at the center of Rami´s life, not Allah. And there was food. When Ramadan began in 2007, Rami Makanesi´s weight stood at 125kg. The holy Muslim month of fasting became a religious experience for Rami he had never had before.

The Muslim missionary movement Tabligh-i Jamaat was holding a work-shop in a Frankfurt mosque. Rami, who lived in his own apartment in the “Kuwald-Siedlung” in Frankfurt-Bockenheim, attended the event and felt like a reborn Muslim – “I came from darkness to light”. He dropped drugs and partying, focussed on the religion. Instead of chasing girls in the Frankfurt bars and clubs, he rode his motorbike to the mosques, attending Friday prayers.

Once weed and cocain were defining his life, now Islam became Rami´s addiction. He felt drawn to the very conservative version of Salafi Islam, praising militant Jihad. On November 1 2007 Rami Makanesi entered a German Jihadi Online-Forum in search for advice. “Brother, let´s say I want to make Jihad, who will bring me across the border?”, Makanesi asked. The forum moderators laughed about the stupid question – “We will definitely not provide you here with a detailed map how to get there.”

But Rami was keen on finding a way how to get to the land of Jihad – the Pakistani tribal areas of Waziristan. He befriended with one of the Jihadi forum´s hosts, a 18 year-old Serbian named Irfan P. The two shared the same views on religion and politics, both were fans of propaganda videos from Afghanistan and Iraq, spreading it on the Internet.

Rami and Irfan became good friends and were in constant contact over the Internet. Finally, the two met in real life and agreed on finding a way to get to Waziristan. In early 2008 Irfan told Rami he could arrange the travels. “I have contact to the brothers there”, he wrote to his friend. Investigators believe the talk of contacts was probably not true – but Irfan knew a person that German officials say has ties to the Jihadi scene.

That person was Abu Ubaydah – a preacher from Bonn. Irfan and Rami visited Abu Ubaydah´s lectures regularly, at least once a month. They were deeply impressed by the young cleric´s knowledge and charisma. One day, Makanesi and his friend had just met visited the preacher, the two were on their way back, driving in a car. What they did not know: German counter-terrorism agents had placed microphones inside the car. “I don´t want to wait any longer”, Irfan P. said to Rami according to documents prepared for the trial, “Maybe Abu Ubaydah will make the decision next week.”

Without any doubt Irfan and Rami were ready to travel to Waziristan and become Jihadi militants. It was Irfan that destroyed the planning when he knocked down a man selling mobile phones and ended up in prison. During the investigation it became clear to the police the young Serb was very much involved in Online Jihadi activities and was spreading terrorist propaganda on a daily basis. Irfan P. was released in summer 2009 after German intelligence offered him to work for them. He was pardoned and sent to Berlin to infiltrate the local Jihadi community.

Rami Makanesi stayed out of prison and instead moved to Hamburg in mid 2008. Earlier that year, while surfing different websites in search of a future wife, Rami came across a young German woman from the coastal town. Jasmin S., born in 1983 is a German convert who´s first husband was from Turkey. She fell in love with the chubby Frankfurt Islamist Rami. The couple´s wedding took place in Hamburg´s notorious Taiba Mosque (formerly known as “Al-Quds Mosque”), the same location where the 9/11 Hijackers had worshipped.

In Juli 2008 Rami moved to Hamburg-Horn, now living with his German wife. Very soon he became a regular visitor to the Taiba Mosque and befriended with other worshippers. Among them were men like Ahmad Wali S., a German of Afghan origin, Shahab D., a Iranian national who grew up in Hamburg and Michael W., a German convert. Rami found friends that – just like he did – felt inspired by the propaganda coming from Waziristan. The men were drawn to Jihad, eager to leave Germany to fight in the name of Allah.

“I did not belong here anymore”, Rami told the judge last week. He wanted to leave the country sooner than later. About a dozen of his new friends, including their wives, shared the same wish. The only question was: Who could bring them to Waziristan? How should they – immigrants, former criminals, converts, reverts – get there?

The answer was a 57 year-old Kabul-born men named Assadullah M.. Hamburg investigators had known M. for years. In 2002 he was accused of forming a terrorist group and calling for Jihad. Allegedly he had told friends he swore to Allah to die as a martyr. To Rami Makanesi and his friends, Assadullah M. was the solution to their problem – he was the one who knew how to get to Waziristan.

Assadullah´s wife and children had moved to Pakistan in 2004 and were now living in Peshawar. At least four times a year he would visit them, traveling back and forth. Now he – whom they called “our lion” – was tasked to arrange the travels of Rami and his friends.

In September 2008 German intelligence monitored a meeting of Islamists – including Rami Makanesi – in Bonn. The agents knew something was planned at that meeting but they could not find out what Rami and the others talked about. In the coming months the Hamburg group met several times in different apartments. One time, when they visited one of their brothers, a camera inside the elevator captured the scene. Investigators later saw who attended these meetings.

Assadullah M. left Germany in early February 2009 and flew to Peshawar. His task was to find places to stay in Pakistan for his Hamburg friends. A month later, Rami Makanesi started the journey that would change his life and make him a wanted terrorist. “I wanted to live Islam, with all its elements”, Makanesi explains his motives.

He travelled from Hamburg to Vienna (Austria) and took a flight to Iran, then driving all the way to Zahedan. There he waited for a someone to take him to the Pakistani tribal areas just across the border. Somewhere in April 2009 he arrived in Waziristan – as the first from the Hamburg group. Assadullah M. had given him a name and address of a local resident who would take care of him.

Rami found the house in the town Mir Ali, close to the town´s center, right next to a mosque. The Frankfurt Islamist knocked on the door and a man named Sher Maulana Khan opened. Khan had expected the German brother and offered him a room for rent – 5 EUROs per month.

Soon after he made contact with the “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan” (IMU), Rami Makanesi entered the world of Jihad. Together with three of his Hamburg friends (two had been arrested upon their arrival in Peshawar and sent back to Germany) he attended the IMU training camps. Makanesi explained in court, there were two camps in the region called “Badr” along the main road leading from the town of Makin to Bana. Each had about 25 Jihadi recruits in training. The military training itself took weeks and involved shooting with various weapons including RPGs and mortars.

Life in the mountains of Waziristan was not the easy adventure Makanesi expected it to be. During a phone call to his father in Frankfurt, Makanesi said life in Waziristan was much harder and more difficult than he had imagined. He told him about the long hikes in the mountains, how he carried heavy grenade launchers and missiles. “I had some weight issues and backache”, Makanesi said in court. The Jihadi day to day life was frustrating for the Frankfurt city boy who had enjoyed party, drinking and getting stoned for years.

Out in the field, all the Pashtun Taliban gave him for food was potatoes, oil and bread, Makanesi remembers. In Mir Ali, he had seen all the groceries one could have wished for – cheese, sweets and even Nutella. But at the frontlines, were the IMU militants were fighting the Pakistani forces, there was no luxury but instead a shortage in food.

On August 8 2009 Makanesi called his wife Jasmin in Hamburg, who was a mother now. “I drove 4 hours to get to a place where they have phones”, Makanesi told her, “but I learn many things from the brothers here.” Thirteen of his fellow Jihadi brothers had already become “martyrs”, some in US drone strikes.

Back in Hamburg, Rami´s wife apparently feared her husband would marry a second wife in Waziristan. She considered joining him. According to the police investigation, Jasmin S. sold several of her belongings on Ebay, including the couple´s computer. One of the buyers was a undercover police agent, eager to get hold of the harddrive, which was – as was later discovered – packed with propaganda material including videos of beheadings.

When Jasmin S. was preparing to make the journey to Waziristan, police showed up out of the sudden and asked her why she was packing luggage. She said she wants to be with her husband. “That is not a good idea”, police then said. S. then stayed in Germany, a descision that maybe even saved her life.

At the very latest in early 2010, the still overweight Makanesi was fed up with Jihad in the Waziristan mountains. He felt he was not fit and strong enough for Jihad, Makanesi later told interrogators. Back in Mir Ali, he contacted a local Al-Qaida figure, asking if a meeting could be arranged. A short time later several Toyota SUVs arrived.

This was the moment Rami Makanesi, a young and naive loser from Frankfurt´s ghetto, came in touch with Al-Qaida. The man who arrived and greeted him was a skinny North African who introduced himself as “Al-Qaida´s No.3″ – Sheikh Muhammad Yunis al-Mauretani.

Al-Mauretani whom Makanesi describes as “Al-Qaida´s foreign minister”, was searching for recruits. His plan was to create a cell, a group of Western Jihadis tasked with a very special mission: terrorist attacks in Europe. Makanesi volunteered, asked to be sent to the training lessons.

The Sheikh explained to the German reruit what he had in mind for the Europe plot. He wants attacks against targets that would harm the Western economy, al-Mauretani said. Al-Qaida in Yemen´s parcel-bomb plot last year was part of that plan, Makanesi claims. According to him, al-Mauretani was very excited about the terror plot – “What we have in mind, not even the devil can imagine this.”

Rami Makanesi, Ahmad Wali S. and another Hamburg Jihadi became students of Sheikh al-Mauretani. All three were trained on encrypting software whom the al-Qaida man said was about to be used as a form of communication between the cells in Europe and al-Qaida´s leadership in Waziristan. Al-Mauretani claimed, the formation of the terror cells and the strategy were sanctioned by none other than Osama Bin Laden himself. The Al-Qaida leader had already given his “ok” and provided the necessary amount of money, al-Mauretani told the Jihadis from Germany.

During the trial in Frankfurt, Makanesi said he thinks Al-Mauretani himself was not in direct contact with Bin Laden. Another al-Qaida figure described as the “Commander in Afghanistan”, the Libyan Attiyatullah al-Libi, was the only one who communicated with Osama Bin Laden directly, according to Makanesi – “I had the feeling, they were using us to try how far they could go with plotting in Europe.”

Perhaps because of his wife and child back in Hamburg, or because of his parents, brothers and friends in Frankfurt, or because he was disappointed by the harsh reality of Waziristan, Rami Makanesi wanted to turn his back on the Jihadi adventure. As the feeling of leaving Waziristan grew stronger, he contacted Sheikh al-Mauretani again. “I wrote him a letter saying I was not able to perform Jihad”, Makanesi tells. But instead of just saying “Goodbye”, he made an offer to the Al-Qaida commander.

Back in Germany, Makanesi offered al-Mauretani, he could collect money for al-Qaida, more than 20.000 EUROs in six months. Al-Mauretani seemed to like the idea and agreed.

On his way to Pakistan the facilitator and local contacts had taken all of Makanesi´s documents. Now he was in Waziristan and had no proper plan of getting back to Germany. He knew tough that he was probably wanted for terrorism. What to do now?

June 15 2010, German Embassy in Islamabad: The phone rang. It was Rami Makanesi. He explained to the German officials who he is, what he plans to do and why he needs their help. The story seemed plausible. Makanesi said he knows he is wanted for terrorism charges and he wants to turn himself in, but  does not habe travel or identification documents and therefore needs some diplomatic help to travel to the embassy.

The German embassy agreed to meet Makanesi in Islamabad and sent him a document via e-mail telling all Pakistani security or intelligence officials not to arrest but to take him to the embassy. A local member of Germany´s BKA (similar to the FBI) thought giving a Jihadi terrorist the opportunity to come to Islamabad was not a very smart idea. The agent contacted his superiors in Germany and told them: there is a dangerous terrorist on his way to the embassy. What if he intends to commit a suicide bombing?

Germany´s interior ministry decided to inform the Pakistani ISI about Makanesi. So while the embassy was waiting for the Jihadi who does not want to fight Jihad anymore, the BKA wanted Makanesi in handcuffs.

On June 26 2010 Pakistani soldiers stopped a car at a checkpoint in Bannu, close to the tribal areas. Inside there was what looked like a family: two men, two women dressed in Burqas and a young girl. One of the women was unusually tall and big. The soldiers told them to step out of the car. Now it was obvious: one woman was in fact a man – Rami Makanesi.

The chubby German Jihadi showed the e-mail from the German embassy to the Pakistani troops. They only took it away from him, pulled a bag over his head and took him to a prison cell he had to share with two other men. The interrogation by the ISI was “hardcore” according to Makanesi. The Pakistanis did not provide him with enough food or water – “I was close to loosing my conscious a few times because I was so weak.”

After two months at the hands of the ISI interrogators, Rami Makanesi was sent back to Germany and is now facing a four year prison term. He was not made for Jihad, Makanesi repeated in the court room, saying he was not strong enough and could not handle the difficult life in Waziristan. One of his best friends from the days in Hamburg, Shahab D. is dead now, killed by a US drone strike last October on the house of Sher Maulana Khan where Makanesi had lived, too. Another friend, Ahmad Wali S., was captured by US troops in Afghanistan in July 2010.

Why Hamburg Matters – Jihad Made in Germany

by Florian Flade

Nine years after the Hamburg-Cell of Mohammed Atta, Ziad Jarrah and Ramzi Binalshibh took part in the biggest terror attack in modern history, the traces of a new al-Qaeda plot once again lead to the German coastal city, into the very same mosque where Atta and the other hijackers of 9/11 worshipped and met.

A group of Jihadi supporters, friends and helpers of the 9/11 terrorists, made their way into the schools of terror in the mountains of Northwest Pakistan. While some are back in Germany, living freely without charges, others were arrested and interrogated by the CIA. What they told their captors alarmed security services around the world and let to the first Europe-wide terror alert – Did a new generation of Hamburg´s al-Qaeda inspire the next 9/11 – scale terror plot?

The St.Georg suburb of Hamburg City is not a very likeable place. Dirty bars, adult entertainment shops, table dance bars, gyms, martial arts training centers, gambling halls and cheap restaurants offering foreign food of all sorts, shape the look of the neighborhood. Only a few hundred meters away from Hamburg´s main train station, prostitutes, drug dealers and criminals roam the streets almost every night.

Yet, in one of the old unobtrusive buildings, Steindamm No. 103, people met and sticked to a lifestyle without all the sin one can witness out on the streets. Mostly men, few older than 30, came to the mosque, centered on the first and second floor, right next to a Vietnamese restaurant and a bodybuilding center. The majority of the faithful worshippers were of immigrant background, others were repents trading their former life of crime, drugs and party for the full-time service to Allah and his prophet.

The Muslim community of the Steindamm mosque – Africans, Bosnians, Russians, Arabs, Turks, Iranians, Afghans, Pakistanis, white converts – shared the same ultraconservative Salafi ideology, following a very strict interpretation of Quran and Sunnah.
During Friday prayers, the elderly sat in the front row, right next to the Imam giving Khutba lectures. The younger worshippers filled the prayer room, while women were separated in another part of the building. Sermons were given in Arabic and German.

Masjid Taiba (formally Al Quds Mosque, renamed in 2008) was without any doubt the epic center of the fundamentalist Islamist community in Hamburg, a regular meeting place for those advocating and supporting violent jihad in Iraq, Afghanistan and even in the West.
Mohammed Atta, Ziad Jarrah and other hijackers of the 9/11 attacks were visitors of the Hamburg mosque, private home videos show the al-Qaeda terrorists celebrating the wedding of one of them – Said Bahaji – in the rooms of the former Al Quds Mosque.

After 9/11 intelligence agencies from around the world became interested in this mysterious worship place, investigating those who attend sermons at Steindamm No.103. Atta and his comrades died crashing passenger planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field – those who prayed and sang songs with the hijackers, and knew of their intention were still freely roaming the streets of Hamburg.

Mamoun Darkazanli is one of them. Known as “Abu Ilyas” by the Masjid Taiba visitors, he was a leading Imam, preaching in Arabic, often holding a piece of paper or the Quran in one hand. Darkazanli had a leading role in supporting the 9/11 cell, his name appeared on Interpol lists of wanted terrorists, even the CIA planned to assassinate him. Hamburg officials who were monitoring him closely, did not arrest the Moroccan. Until the day Masjid Taiba was closed, Mamoun Darkazanli preached inside the Salafi temple.

Out of the 200 worshippers attending his Friday prayers in the years after 9/11, Germany´s intelligence estimated around fifty men (called “Group of 50″) belonged to the radical core promoting an Anti-Western, al-Qaeda-style version of Islam. They were regarded as supporters of Jihad but not necessary as potential terrorists themselves.

Police placed microphones inside Masjid Taiba and wiretapped suspects, recorded their travel movements. All these measures were known by the men and women visiting the mosque. Instead of being scared or stopping radical talks, they felt kind of proud. Being observed and monitored – in their view – was a sign of being important, eventhough the dozens of other mosques in Hamburg criticized the extremist Salafi brothers from St.Georg suburb.

Everybody knew the eyes of German intelligence were on the mosque. When computers were introduced in the common room of Masjid Taiba, some teenagers began downloading jihadi videos. Quickly the mosque leadership moved in, stopping them from getting involved in illegal activities – they were keen on appearing conservative, even radical, but clean from any terrorist activities.

The main task for Hamburg´s security officials regarding the Steindamm´s mosque was outlined quite clear: Never again should Hamburg become the center of global Jihad, a fertile breeding ground for the next 9/11-cell. As a final step, Hamburg officials moved in in early August and closed Taiba Mosque. Several computers, hard-drives, DVDs, documents and cash were confiscated by the police. No charges have been filed yet as shutting up the Taiba place was the priority.

Those familiar with the story of 9/11 ask: Why did it take so long for the German authorities to close the radical mosque? Why were Islamist preachers allowed to continue their brainwashing behind closed doors in the very same rooms Mohammed Atta spread his dangerous thoughts?

With the full knowledge of German security officials, a small group of radical Muslims formed in the orbit of Taiba Mosque by 2008. Among them were men who had met Mohammed Atta personally and who are good friends with the 9/11 helpers Mounir al-Motassadeq and Said Bahaji, both former residents of Hamburg.

The leading figure of this group was Rami M., a former low-profile criminal of Syrian descent born in the city of Frankfurt. He had a police crime record for violating the speed limit, possession of drugs and other charges, before he turned to radical Islam, becoming a faithful follower of the Salafi ideology. Rami M. moved from Frankfurt to Hamburg because of a woman, he got in contact with via internet chat forums.

In the North German coastal town M. rounded up about a dozen other Islamists, most of them in their twenties, the oldest one 55 of age. What these friends shared was not only the belief that Jihad against non-believers was an individual duty to every Muslim but also the intense admiration of the 9/11-hijackers.

On the day of the closing of Masjid Taiba, German police said a form of tourism had been established in recent years with Islamists coming from other parts of Europe and even the Middle East, to worship at the mosque. “It had become a form of sightseeing and telling people back home “I prayed in the mosque in which Atta prayed”, an Hamburg intelligence official said.

In 2008, Rami M. and his friends met regularly to chat about politics, the situation of the Muslim Ummah, about Iraq, Afghanistan and the mujahideen.
Soon, in winter 2008, the conclusion of the talks was “we have to act”.

They found a role model in two German nationals from Bonn, Mounir and Yassin C., brothers of Moroccan origin who had joined the militant group “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan” (IMU) in Pakistan years ago. Yassin and Mounir were turned into IMU´s propaganda workhorses, appearing in several videos on the internet, calling for German Muslims to come to Waziristan and live a Prophet-Lifestyle.

As the willingness of the Taiba friends grew to leave the sinful “bilad ul kufr”, the land of the unbelievers, German security services had the men on their radar. Rami M. and the others were considered dangerous, not an imminent threat, but definitely further radicalized then the average Islamists of Taiba Mosque.

One of Rami M.´s comrades was the young Iranian Shahab D. Born in 1983 in Iran, he had left the country in 1994 with his parents, fleeing the effects of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. They settled in Hamburg, and Shahab grew up as an average immigrant child of Muslim background, joining sports clubs, listening to Rap music in his teenage years.

It was years after after 9/11, when Shahab D., influenced by Muslim friends, entered Taiba Mosque. Fascinated by the strict Salafi-Islam, the Iranian soon attended Friday prayers regularly. In 2007 or 2008, Shahab, a Shiite by family background, converted. A young Persian refugee turned into a fundamentalist Salafi in the middle of a modern German city. Shahab D. had become “Salman the Persian”.  His parents  are still convinced their son was “driven into extremism by those fanatics”.

In 2008, Shahab D. married his girlfriend, a now 23 year-old dental student, the daughter of a German woman and a Muslim West-African. The couple embraced the ultraconservative Islamic lifestyle, met with the men and women of Taiba Mosque and further radicalized in the period of only a few months.

During his phase of becoming a strict Salafi, Shahab D. met a man, who´s influence on him was fatal – Ahmad Wali S.
The 36 year-old Afghan was born in Kabul into a family of doctors, diplomats, engineers and lawyers. He fled Afghanistan with his family and lived a refugee´s life in India until he and his older brother immigrated to Hamburg in the 1990s. Ahmad Wali S. was granted German citizenship in 2001.

Ahmad´s father was a pilot, flying airplanes in Afghanistan for decades, even training pilots on how to fly huge carrier aircrafts. When the parents joined their two sons in Hamburg, Ahmad´s father was unable to get employed until today.

In Hamburg, Ahmad Wali S. was known as a smart student, dreaming of attending University, interested in cars, technology and computer sciences. But somehow he did not manage to graduate and had to make money as a pizza deliverer. Later, Ahmad S. got a job in a cleaning service company, working at Hamburg Airport. The father was a respected pilot, his son only cleaned airplanes.

While on vacation in Indonesia, Ahmad S., befriended with Shinta P., an Indonesian woman who was willing to marry the German-Afghan. After Ahmad received the German citizenship, he brought his future wife to Hamburg. Only there Shinta P. started wearing the headscarf and became a devoted Muslima. She never learned German, only talked to Ahmad in English for years, barely leaving the apartment.

Friends and family describe Ahmad as a faithful Muslim during the time of 9/11, but not as fanatic. He was a friend of the Hamburg-Cell supporter Mounir al-Motassadeq, visited him in prison. Together with his wife and al-Motassadeq, Ahmad S. traveled to Morocco in summer 2002. There he met the Jihadi preacher Sheikh Mohammad al-Fasasi, who had given lectures in the Hamburg Taiba Mosque in 2000 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for involvement in the Cassablanca terror attacks.

Two years later, Ahmad S. started a second relationship with a woman from Eastern Europe, a work colleague he met at the airport. The two fell in love and once went on vacation to Turkey. Shinta, the Indonesian wife tolerated the second woman in Ahmad´s life, even accepting her husband moving into the other woman´s apartment.

With thousands of Euros in pay-off, Ahmad S. quit his job at the airport cleaning company in 2006. He and his new girlfriend opened a bakery in Hamburg – a business that failed.

A cousin borrowed Ahmad money, so he could start a new business – a travel agency – in early 2008 in Hamburg-St.Georg, the very same city district where the Taiba Mosque was located. Only nine months later, Ahmad S.´s business failed again.

Feeling inferior and in a desperate financial situation the German-Afghan sought refuge in his religion. Ahmad S. ended the relationship with his girlfriend, begged his wife to return to him. He grew a beard, banned music, movies and all sinful things from his life and even started to convince Non-Muslims in his neighborhood to accept Islam.

The friendship to the other fundamentalist Salafis of Taiba Mosque grew stronger.

When Rami M., Shahab D. and Ahmad Wali S. told the others in Taiba Mosque they were keen on fighting Jihad in Afghanistan, some of the men expressed concerns, asking “How to get their?”, “Police is monitoring us” and “What route to choose?”. The one giving the answers was a Frenchman, born in Paris, brought up in Algeria – Naamen M.

He became the driving force to the Hamburg Jihadi travel trip, although he was already in the spotlight of the German Anti-Terror investigators.
Naamen M. had dual French and Algerian citizenship, and first appeared on the track record of the police in 2003 as a Jihad supporter and possible recruiter for suicide bombers sent from Europe to Iraq. Even he himself tried to join the fight against US forces in Iraq, but was arrested in Syria and sent back to Germany.

M. was experienced in trafficking people across national borders, he had all the necessary connections and was himself willing to become a Mujahed in Waziristan. The French-Algerian had lived in the North African homeland of his ancestors till 1992 when he moved to Hamburg, where he married the daughter of Moroccan Sheikh Mohammad al-Fasasi and fostered two children.Algerian security forces arrested Naamen´s father and one brother. Both of them “disappeared” in the dungeons of the Algerian regime during the 1990s. Another brother joined the Islamist insurgency and was killed by Algerian military in 1996.

Naamen M. traveled from Hamburg to Algeria in January 2006, and was also arrested and held without charges for several months, allegedly being tortured by police and intelligence agents. Finally he was allowed to return to Hamburg, telling friends at Taiba Mosque about his experience in the Algerian prisons.

Naamen M., Rami M., Ahmad Wali S. and Shahab D. began meeting regularly at Ahmad S.´s place, discussing on how to realize their dream of fighting the “kuffar” in Afghanistan. One Afghan they knew, had good contacts to region, making him a prime source for establishing the logistics.

It was Kabul-born Assadullah M., a 55 year-old Islamists, who came to Germany in the 1970s and made a number of trips to Pakistan very year. He became the oldest member of the Hamburg Jihadi tourist group and the first to leave Germany in early 2009. On February 4th 2009, Assadullah M. flew to Pakistan and since then disappeared. Intelligence services and police investigators are desperate to find out if he joined the terror groups of Waziristan or if he was even ready for Jihad. Others clearly were.

Ahmad Wali S., the pilot son, entered a travel agency in Hamburg´s main train station on March 2th 2009, and bought One-Way tickets to Pakistan for himself, his wife, his 22 year-old brother Sulayman, Shahab D. and his wife. Ahmad S. paid the 4155 Euro in cash, telling the staff in the travel agency, his brother was about to marry in Pakistan. The travel agency provided him with the necessary visas for the trip.

Two days later, in the middle of the night, two men and two women left Ahmad S.´s flat in Hamburg. German intelligence was stationed outside the house, filming the tourist group walking to the car packed with heavy luggage with hidden surveillance cameras. Ahmad S., Shahab D. and their wives, picking up Ahmad´s younger brother, drove 460 kilometres to Frankfurt am Main.

The following day Ahmad S.´s mother, who lived in the building right next to her son, noticed Sulayman´s suitcase was gone. She dialed his mobile phone. “I travel to Afghanistan with Ahmad”, Sulayman said and rang up.

Fearing their sons would join terrorist gangs in Pakistan, the parents contacted a friend in Hanover who called the police. Once the police was alarmed a group of Islamists was on their way to Waziristan, officers were sent to the Frankfurt Airport to preventing them from leaving the country. They failed because they waited at the wrong departure gate – Ahmad, Sulayman, Shahab and the women had boarded a different plane, a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Peshawar, where the group arrived on March 5th at 3 a.m..

The very same day, Rami M. and Naamen M.´s journey started. Naamen told his wife, he was about to make a pilgrimage to Saudi-Arabia. Instead, the two friends traveled to Pakistan via Turkey and Iranian Zahedan.

Two other members of the Taiba Mosque group, were Non-Arab and Non-Turkish white converts. Michael W., born 1985 in Kazakhstan, converted to Islam in his high school time in Germany, while the other convert, Alexander J., born 1980 in Chechnya, embraced the new faith in prison, serving a sentence on drug charges.

Both German citizens decided to travel to Pakistan via Austria, avoiding German intel monitoring. Alexander J. and Michael W. drove from Hamburg to Vienna on March 9th 2009, only to be questioned at the airport by Austrian authorities about the motives for their trip. “Vacation”, was the answer given by one of the two, “buying carpets”, said the other one.

Police became suspicious and searched the luggage of the strange Hamburg tourists. What they found was nothing vacation-like. Two documents indicated the converts were on their way fighting jihad.
“How To Behave in Jihad” was the title of one of the papers. The other document was an Arabic reference letter written by “Ibrahim the Lebanese” from Hamburg, a sort of entry ticket to the terror camps.

Indications were overwhelming, nevertheless Austrian airport security allowed the convert Salafis to board a Qatar Airways plane taking them from Vienna via Doha to Karachi. Upon the arrival, Pakistani police arrested Alexander J. and Michael W., interrogated them in prison before sending both back to Germany.

Mohammad M., the last one of the Taiba Mosque friends, was the only one who was arrested even prior to departing. German police approached the Iranian at Frankfurt Airport on March 9th and confiscated his passport.

Those who made it to Pakistan, met in Mir Ali, a known terrorist hub in Pakistani North Waziristan. The unusual tourist group from Hamburg – Ahmad S., Sulayman S., Shahab D., Naamen M., Rami M. and the two Jihadi wives – got in contact with militant groups in the tribal areas. Most of them joined the “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan” (IMU) and were sent immediately to the training camps for military courses because all of them lacked experienced in shooting guns or guerilla tactics.

Shahab D., the Iranian Shiite convert, appeared in an IMU-propaganda video in October 2009 for the first time, posing  as “Abu Askar” with a huge black sword. “We have only left Germany and our parents, to bring victory to this religion!”, Shahab D. said in front of the camera, later stating there were numerous nationalities of Mujahideen fighting in Waziristan – “There are brothers from all over the world, from Tunesien, from Tajikistan, from Uzbekistan, from China, from Russia, from Turkey, from Europe and from Iran in the battle trenches”.

In a eulogy message for a German militant shot dead by Pakistani forces in September 2009, Shahab D. was again featured talking about his martyred friend and the virtue of Jihad.

Life in Waziristan was harder then the Hamburg-Islamists had thought. No running water, no electricity, food shortage, scorpions and snakes, sometimes no shower for days. The summer was burning hot, winter was freezing cold in the shacks of Waziristan. In addition, the CIA drones and Pakistani military operations took a high toll on the militants.

In Germany investigators were following the tracks of the Hamburg Jihadis, reading the e-mails they sent back home, wiretapping their calls to family and friends. “You know, Mom, our brothers are that brave, the American soldiers are even wearing diapers. They shit themselves when they see us. We shoot at their asses” – Ahmad Wali S. told his mother in a phone call late December 2009, “Mom, the Americans are even rapping old men.”

The previous month, in November, Ahmad´s father came to visit his two sons in Waziristan, trying to convince them to return to Hamburg, return to safety and give up the idea of Jihad. He failed in the beginning, but in December 2009, Ahmad´s younger brother Sulayman S., abandoned a Mujahid´s life in Waziristan and traveled back to Germany. Sulayman was arrested at Frankfurt Airport on December 18th. He remained in custody for about a month, telling police about his time in the terror camps.

On January 6th 2010, Ahmad Wali S., called his parents – and German intelligence was listening again: “I have chosen the right path. I want everything to be correct on the day of judgement. I want my family to go to paradise. Some day, Mom, you will say: Well done, my son!” Life in Germany is bad, S. explained, “You live with gays, lesbians, Jews and the kuffar.”

“My little brother had so much fun here”, Ahmad S. told his mother on the phone a week later, “I told him not to go back.” The mother responded: “But he is sick. He screams every night.” Ahmad S. assured Sulayman was happy in Waziristan. “I wish you had come here and had seen for yourself. Mom, wait until we conquer Afghanistan!”

In Waziristan they are no women on the streets, Ahmad S. told his parents, there is no sin, no temptation. In his job, working for multimedia section of IMU, he even got a salary, Ahmad S. claimed. In spring 2010, the calls became desperate, asking for money, saying the situation was difficult due to the US drone attacks.

Rami M., the chubby German-Syrian from Frankfurt, complained about long, rough hikes through the Pakistan-Afghanistan mountains, telling his father in Germany in an e-mail he walked for kilometers with a bazooka on his shoulder. “I want to be a martyr. Probably I will not survive the summer”, Rami M., assured his wife he left in Germany.

Late June, Ahmad S. contacted his sister in Hamburg, telling her he wants to return home and she should arrange an appointment with an psychiatrist for him. Indeed 36 year-old Ahmad S. left Waziristan and went to Afghan capital Kabul where US forces arrested him during a raid in July.
Since that day the Hamburg Islamist is held in custody at US Military Base Bagram, interrogated by the CIA.

What Ahmad S. told the Americans caused US and European security officials to raise the terror alert level in September. He underwent several terror training camps, Ahmad S. said, sent as a fighter of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to Afghanistan for combat.
In early summer 2010, he told the interrogators, a special meeting took place in the town of Mir Ali, an event to remember the days of 9/11 and the Hamburg-connection. In Mir Ali, Ahmad S., Naamen M. and Shahab D. lived very close together. On that day, S. explained to the Americans in Bagram, he was introduced to a mysterious al-Qaeda figure, a North African spiritual leader called “Sheikh Younis al-Mauritani”. The Sheikh arrived in a Toyota SUV with darkened windows and introduced himself as al-Qaeda´s No.3.

Al-Mauritani convened the Mir Ali meeting and told Ahmad S. and the other Hamburg Jihadis, a special guest was about to arrive. The man who stepped into the hut was none other than Said Bahaji, one of the most wanted man in the world.

Bahaji, born in Germany in 1975, was a close comrade of the Hamburg 9/11 cell, lived in shared flat with Mohammed Atta. Investigators are sure, Bahaji was a main supporter of the al-Qaeda hijackers and knew of their plans. He fled Germany on September 3th 2001 to Karachi, since then disappeared in Pakistan.
Some years back, Bahaji still contacted his wife in Germany regularly via e-mail. That contact has run cold now. Last year, Pakistani troops captured the terrorist safe haven of South Waziristan and found in one of the buildings used by the militants, several ID-documents of European citizens, among them the German passport of Said Bahaji. It is no secret, the 9/11-supporter from Hamburg is alive and lives a terrorist´s life in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Ahmad S., Naamen M. and Shahab D. met Said Bahaji and Sheikh al-Mauritani to learn the al-Qaeda leadership had a plan for a new 9/11-scale attack – this time attacking numerous European cities. The al-Qaeda Sheikh al-Mauritani told the Germans, he already sent sleeper cells to Italy and France, ready to strike at any time. Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, Ahmad S. was told, had approved the Europe-attacks and provided the needed money. Denmark, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands were also on the list of targets.

Naamen M., Rami M. and Ahmad S. should form the German cell for the upcoming attacks, Sheikh Al-Mauritani said. They shall be dispatched to Germany after receiving special training in Waziristan. In June, Ahmad S. claimed, he and the other Germans were trained for weeks in special courses on how to use encryption software to hide secret messages in e-mails and chat rooms. “Clean e-mail accounts” were available to organize the logistics for the Europe plot which should be carried out in assault style attacks similar to the terror attack on Mumbai luxury hotels in November 2008.

For the first time, German investigators were allowed to visit Ahmad S., the prime source that revealed al-Qaeda´s major terror plans for Europe, some weeks ago. The Americans regard him as a  very valuable source of intelligence and they are not willing to hand him over to the German colleagues. Ahmad S. will most likely be sent to the U.S. for further questioning.

The German cell of the al-Qaeda plot it seems, is history now. One of its purported members, Rami M., was fed up with the Jihad idea. He called the German embassy in Pakistan on June 15th, asking for new passport documents to return to Germany. An appointment was made for June 21th, 9:30 a.m. in Islamabad and the German officials provided the 25 year-old Islamist with a written statement to leave the tribal areas without getting arrested by Pakistani security forces.

German police feared a suicide bombing carried out by Rami M. (perhaps a “second Abu Dujana al-Khorasani Case”). Pakistani security was alerted hinting them at the German-Syrian who was about to depart Waziristan. Near the town of Bannu, Pakistani troops finally arrested Rami M. on June 21th, wearing a white Burqa, sitting in the back of a car coming from Mir Ali.
After weeks of interrogation by the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, Rami M. was finally deported to Germany August 26th and is in prison since. His wife in Germany claims Rami was tortured and “tricked” by German and Pakistani officials.

What the fate of the other friends from Hamburg Masjid Taiba is, remains a mystery. A US drone attacked a building near Mir Ali on October 4th, a house owned by the same Taliban man who was the driver of Rami M.´s car when he was arrested. Up to eight German militants were killed in the missile strikes, witnesses said.
Days after the attack, militant groups from the region reported Shahab D. and at least one other German Jihadi died in the Mir Ali drone attack. German officials received news, among the dead was also Naamen M., and the 20 year-old German-Turk Bünyamin E. of Wuppertal but there is no confirmation for these reports yet.

Connecting the dots and traces left behind by the Taiba Mosque Jihadi tourists, could lead to the assumption, nine years after 9/11, al-Qaeda again reached out to Hamburg Islamists to carry out a major terror attack wave against the West. The radicals were bred behind the doors of the very same mosque that had been the harbor and worship place for Mohammed Atta and his comrades. German authorities acted late, maybe even too late, in closing Masjid Taiba. Were they driven to act after the reports of the arrests of Rami M. and Ahmad S., and the information they provided?

Today the radical Salafis of Masjid Taiba still roam the streets of Hamburg St.Georg, coming together for Friday prayers in small basement rooms and private flats, making it very difficult for police and intelligence to track them and monitor their activities. Once they all gathered in one place, an almost sacred Jihadi temple, under the watchful eye of Anti-Terror investigators. Yet, a small group of hardliners was able to outsmart the hunters, succeeding in living the Jihadi dream, which became a nightmare for a some of them.

Three of the Hamburg Jihadi friends are back in Germany, one is in prison (Rami M.), two are living free without charges (Alexander J. and Michael W.). The two White converts were in contact with Ahmad S. and those living in Waziristan, who shared the stories of war and martyrdom with J. and W.. Michael W. is wearing a white robe on most days, grew a red beard and is described by neighbors as “friendly” and “nice”. Police list him as an “instigator” of Jihad – one of 132 living in Germany.
Sources:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,723640,00.html

German Newspaper “Stern” No.41 2010

http://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article10127972/Deutsche-Islamisten-bei-Drohnenangriff-getoetet.html

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,722196,00.html

German Newspaper SPIEGEL Nr.40 / 2010

German Newspaper SPIEGEL Nr.33 / 2010