Schlagwort-Archive: cell

Al-Qaida´s Plan To Kill German TV Celebrities

by Florian Flade

Germany, November 2010. A call from Waziristan set German security officials on high alert. Al-Qaida has set sights on Germany, the caller claimed, a terrorist cell of Moroccan nationals is already in the country planning terror attacks. The caller was a German Jihadist who had traveled to Pakistan´s tribal region in early 2010. He had joined Al-Qaida but after a US drone strike had killed his younger brother he was fed up with Jihad. He was eager to leave Al-Qaida and therefore asked German officials to help him – with money and flight tickets to Turkey. In return he offered inside information about an alleged Al-Qaida plot to target Germany.

German officials were discussing the threat. In the end no deal was made. No more calls were coming from the Jihadi defector. Nevertheless Germany´s Ministry of Interior gave out a nationwide terror alert. Police was intensively patrolling at airports, train stations and at the German parliament. In the background intelligence agencies were now on the hunt for the „Moroccan Al-Qaida Cell“ operating in Germany. Who could be a possible Al-Qaida sleeper? Which person had been trained in Waziristan and returned to Germany?

Dozens of potential Jihadi terrorists were checked. By December 2010 German counter-terrorism officials came across one man they believed could be Al-Qaida´s man for the job – Abdeladim El-K.. The Moroccan national had been to the Al-Qaida training camp „Badr“ in early 2010 and then returned to Germany living a secret life. El-K. was an illegal resident by then. His behavior led intelligence analyst to believe he could be planning for something.

The federal police (Bundeskriminalamt) formed a special unit named „Komet“ and started observation on El-K. and two other men in the Düsseldorf region of Northrhine-Westphalia. Over the course of a few months it became clear that the Moroccan was in contact with high-ranking Al-Qaida figure Sheikh Atiyyatullah and had formed a cell in West Germany. He recruited Jamil S. and Amid C. and step-by-step went forward with a plan to build a bomb. Security officials now called them the „Düsseldorf Cell“.

Read the full story of „Al-Qaida´s Düsseldorf Cell“ here

In April 2011 police decided to strike on El-K. and his comrades. All three men were arrested in various raids. A fourth member of the „Düsseldorf Cell“, Halil S., was arrested in December 2011 after months of surveillance. After El-K. and the others were arrested, Halil S. wanted to continue with the deadly plan to carry out a bomb attack in Germany.

Now the „Düsseldorf Cell“ is on trial. Loads of details are made public including information on what the possible target of the terrorist attack could have been. The chief of the federal police´s „Komet“-Unit testified in court. He talked about documents and possible target lists found in the cell´s flat. One of the papers, a notebook, belonged to El-K..

There were several names written on the target list including „Markus Lense“ and „Ingo Appell“. Both are TV celebrities in Germany. Markus Lanz is probably the most popular talk-show anchorman in the country soon to be presenting Germany´s prime time entertainment show „Wetten dass…?“.

Why would the Al-Qaida terrorists want to kill Markus Lanz? One possible reason: Lanz interviewed Kurt Westergaart, the Danish cartoonist who had drawn some of the controversial Mohammed Cartoons which triggered international protest by Muslims in numerous countries back in 2005.

Ingo Appelt is a famous German comedian known for his harsh and sometimes very insulting humor. Also on El-K.´s target list was Hans-Christoph Ammon, the former Chief of the „Kommando Spezialkräfte“ (KSK), the German military´s special forces unit, and „Charlie Hebdo“, the name of a French Satire magazine which had re-printed the Danish Mohammed Cartoons. And there was the „Gafenwöhr/Crafenwöhr“ found on the paper, a town in southern Germany where a US military base is located.

The „Komet“ chief told the judge the list can be treated like a „possible target scenario“ but there that was no information found during the investigation that could proof the „Düsseldorf Cell“ was absolutely willing and in detail planning to kill the people on the list.

The Fourth Man Of The „Düsseldorf Cell“

by Florian Flade

Attiyatullah al-Libi – Al-Qaida´s contact to „Düsseldorf Cell“

“We as Muslims should seek the wealth of the disbelievers as a form of jihad in the path of Allah. That would necessitate that we spend the money on the cause of jihad and not on ourselves” – now killed US-Yemeni Anwar al-Awlaki wrote in a issue of the English-language „Inspire“ magazine released by Al-Qaida in Yemen in early 2011.

In Germany, a 27 year-old student obviously felt strongly moved by Awlaki´s sanctioning of crime in the name of Allah to support the Jihad against the disbelievers. Halil S. needed money, enough money to finish with a plot he and his comrades had been planning for months.

On December 8 a police commando of the German special police unit GSG-9 raided a student´s house in the West-German city of Bochum. Halil S. was arrested in his room while he was logging onto the Internet. He is – according to German prosecution – part of the „Düsseldorf Cell“, an Al-Qaida-linked terrorist cell that was busted by German intelligence in April. The „Düsseldorf Cell“ consisted of the three men Abdeladim El-K., Amid C. and Jamil S who were all arrested in several police raids. El-K. who is considered to be the head of the „Düsseldorf Cell“ was trained in an Al-Qaida camp in Waziristan in early 2010 and was in contact with Al-Qaida ideologue Attiyatullah al-Libi.

Halil S. aka „Abdullah“ was recruited by Abdeladim El-K. and was part of a Jihadi supporter network. On April 16 Halil S. visited El-K. in his apartment in Düsseldorf. He handed him a list of 45 names, credit card accounts and passwords – information that was useful for online crimes and the financing of a terrorist attack. German intelligence agents observed the meeting in El-K.´s apartment but were unable to identify Halil S..

When the „Düsseldorf Cell“ was arrested, Halil S. decided to move on with the plot that his „Emir“ Abdeladim El-K. had planned: building a bomb and carrying out a terrorist attack in Germany. Immediately after El-K.´s arrest S. ordered a wiretap detection device and contacted common criminals living in the North of Germany.

In the city of Kiel Halil S. found what he was searching for. Florian M. and five other people from Kiel started to work with Halil S. using fake names and passports for online shopping. The group sold items via Ebay including cameras and thereby was able to raise 5.200 EUROs. According to the prosecution Florian M. and his friends from Kiel did not know about Halil S. intention and his Jihadi terrorist background. They thought they were involved in crime not terrorism.

In May Halil S. contacted the Jihadi cleric Anwar al-Awlaki located in Yemen via e-mail. The German-born Islamist told Awlaki about his plans and his desire to obtain weapons. Awlaki responded. German security officials were not willing to confirm or deny the e-mail exchange between Halil S. and Awlaki. There is no information on what Awlaki´s answers or orders to Halil S. were – but there were answers.

After months of observation and unsuccessful attempts of online searches on Halil S.´computer German authorities decided to move in and arrest the 27 year-old student.

More than 150 police officers were involved in 18 raids that took place in Düsseldorf, Herne, Gelsenkirchen, Kiel and Hamburg. Only two people were arrested: Islamist Halil S. and criminal Florian M..

From Osama with Love – Bin Laden´s Letter to Germany

by Florian Flade

„Treasure trove“ – that´s the word used by US intelligence officials to describe what the Navy SEALs Team found inside Osama Bin Laden´s compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad during their nighttime operation. After the American soldiers shot and killed the Al-Qaida leader and several other people inside the hideout, they went room to room seizing highly valuable material. More than 2,7 terabytes of files and data were obtained by the US, some of which was old propaganda recorded years ago.

The most interesting part of all the obtained documents were Bin Laden´s handwritten letters and speeches. It took the CIA months to analyze the Abbottabad material. Was there any unknown terror plot Al-Qaida was about to carry out soon? What was Bin Laden´s role in past terrorist operations? Was he a chief planner and knew of all the plots by his network?

It seems like the CIA decided to hand some of the material to their European partners – giving them documents which would be of interest to them. Documents in which the Al-Qaida leader talks about Europe. Two of these documents are especially interesting for German counter-terrorism officials.

During the Abbottabad raid the US obtained a strategy paper written by Al-Qaida´s alleged „Foreign Minister“, Sheikh Younis Mohammed al-Mauretani. In this document sent to Bin Laden, Al-Mauretani outlines the plans of a Europe-Plot, describing attacks on European economic targets and thereby harming Western economy in general. Al-Mauretani lists numerous countries which should be attacked by Al-Qaida – one of them is Germany.

The existence of this strategy paper of a Jihad against European economy – which is confirmed by German counter-terrorism officials – seems to underline the claims of two German Jihadi terrorists which were arrested in 2010. Rami Makanesi of Frankfurt and Ahmed Wali Siddiqi of Hamburg, both of whom had traveled to Pakistani tribal areas of Waziristan in 2009 to receive terrorist training, spoke about a Al-Qaida plot led by Al-Mauretani.

According to Makanesi and Siddiqi Sheikh al-Mauretani was traveling around the Waziristan villages in summer 2009 to recruit European Jihadis for a big operation. „What we are planning, not even the devil has in mind“, al-Mauretani allegedly told the German Jihadis. Bin Laden himself was instructed by al-Mauretani about the plot and had already approved it, promising the necessary financial support.

Makanesi´s and Siddiqi´s assertions were in part the reason why German authorities raised the terrorist threat level in November 2010. Interior Ministry released a statement saying the threat of a terrorist attack is imminent.

The fact that US troops indeed found a plot description by Al-Mauretani in Bin Laden´s house in Abbottabad now confirms the Al-Qaida leader´s involvement in the planning of a large-scale attack in several European countries including Germany.

Another document found in Abbottabad is even more worrying. According to my information a handwritten letter by Osama Bin Laden was found which could prove a direct link between the Al-Qaida leader and a terrorist cell based in Germany. In this letter Bin Laden writes about brothers stationed in Europa – naming Abdeladim el-K..

El-K., a 29 year-old Moroccan national, was arrested in Germany on April 29th, a few days before Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan. He is suspected of being the head of the so-called „Düsseldorf-Zelle“, a three-men group of Jihadi terrorists planning to carry out attacks in Germany. El-K. who lived and studied in Germany had traveled to Waziristan in early 2010 and received training at a Al-Qaida camp where he came in contact with Sheikh Younis al-Mauretani.

Back in Germany El-K. recruited fellow Moroccan Jamil S. and German-Iranian Amid C.. The three men formed an Al-Qaida cell which was tasked by Al-Qaida´s commander Atiyattullah al-Libi to strike Germany. El-K. tried to contact Atiyattullah via the internet in the months leading to his arrest – but he was not able to reach the Waziristan-based terrorist.

Since November 2010 German counter-terrorism officials were hunting for a „Moroccan cell“ in Germany. German Jihadi terrorist Emrah E. living in Waziristan had called German police in October and told them he wants to surrender. He also spoke about Al-Qaida´s plans to attack the country. He said he knew of a Moroccan cell already in Germany, ready to strike even the parliament building in Berlin.

Finally, earlier this year and with the help of Moroccan and American intelligence, authorities were able to identity Abdeladim el-K. as a potential terrorist cell leader. They began monitoring him. When El-K. was visiting several internet cafés in one day, acting very carefully, they decided to wiretap his phones and infiltrate his computers.

In April El-K. and his Jihadi colleagues talked about a plan to build bombs, discussing the possible targets. German police intervened. On April 29 El-K., Jamil S. and Amid C. were arrested.

Question now is: Why did Bin Laden mention the „Düsseldorf-Cell“ leader by name in a letter written in his Abbottabad hideout? Only logical explanation is that Osama Bin Laden knew about the people his commanders had recruited and trained in Waziristan. He must have known about Europe based cells and was even informed about the men´s names.

A copy of the Bin Laden letter was allegedly given to European intelligence agencies to identify other possible Al-Qaida terrorists living in Western Europe. German police would not confirm or deny the existence of such a letter mentioning Abdeladim el-K..

All in all, the Abbottabad treasure trove links the bits and pieces of a terror plot a few captured Jihadis and phone calls shed light on in 2010 and shows how much the Al-Qaida leadership was involved in the future terrorist campaigns.