Thanks Germany, time to take out the trash, ya?
Investigators have discovered a "Jihadi village" of white German al-Qaeda insurgents, including Muslim converts, in Pakistan's tribal areas close to the Afghan border.
By Dean Nelson in New Delhi and Allan Hall in Berlin
Published: 11:44AM BST 25 Sep 2009
Pakistan discovers 'village' of white German al-Qaeda insurgents
Taliban fighter in al-Qaeda video grab Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES
The village, in Taliban-controlled Waziristan, is run by the notorious al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which plots raids on Nato forces in Afghanistan.
A recruitment video presents life in the village as a desirable lifestyle choice with schools, hospitals, pharmacies and day care centres, all at a safe distance from the front.
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In the video, the presenter, "Abu Adam", the public face of the group in Germany, points his finger and asks: "Doesn't it appeal to you? We warmly invite you to join us!"
According to German foreign ministry officials a growing number of German families, many of North African descent, have taken up the offer and travelled to Waziristan where supporters say converts make up some of the insurgents' most dedicated fighters.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which has a foothold in several German cities, has capitalised on growing concern over the rising profile of German forces in Afghanistan. Their role has become increasingly controversial in Germany in recent weeks after dozens of civilians were killed in an air strike ordered by German officers.
Last night a foreign ministry spokesman told The Daily Telegraph they were now negotiating with Pakistani authorities for the release of six Germans, including "Adrian M", a white Muslim convert, his Eritrean wife and their four year old daughter, who were arrested as they were making their way to the "German village". They are particularly concerned about the welfare of the child.
They are being held in custody in Peshawar after their arrest in May shortly when they crossed the border from Iran. They are understood to have left Germany in March this year.
The spokesman said negotiations were "under way" with Pakistani authorities "concerning a group of German citizens" and that it had been aware that the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan had been recruiting in Germany "since the beginning of the year".
Their recruitment drive has been led by "Abu Adam", a 24-year-old German believed to be of Turkish or North African descent who was raised with his, and fellow Jihadi, Abu Ibrahim, in the smart Bonn suburb of Kessenich.
Adam, whose real name is Mounir Chouka, received weapons training from the German army as part of his national service, and later spent three years training at the Federal Office of Statistics where colleagues described him as a "nice boy".
He left in 2007, telling colleagues he was joining a trading firm in Saudi Arabia, but is believed to have joined a terrorist training camp in Yemen.
In another recruitment video released earlier this year he urged supporters to: "Die the death of honour."
Khalid Khawaja, a former Pakistan intelligence officer, who describes himself as a friend of Osama bin Laden, said he was aware of a German contingent and that there were a number of Swedish converts too who had arrived in Pakistan "for Jihad".
"The Europeans are there [in Waziristan]. The most dedicated people there are from Europe. They will do anything for Islam. They are not there because their father's are Muslim, but by choice," he said.
Feds disrupt 3 U.S. terror plots
Case escalates against Zazi
By Ben Conery
The Justice Department brought charges Thursday in three unrelated bombing plots, but in only one - the case of a 24-year-old man accused of taking part in an al Qaeda plot to unleash a bombing campaign against Americans - was the public in any potential danger.
In the other two cases, two men were caught in stings by the FBI. Unbeknownst to the men in both investigations, the FBI made sure the bombs they planted were fakes.
In the most serious case, Najibullah Zazi, an airport shuttle driver from Denver, was indicted Thursday in New York on charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction - explosive bombs - against persons or property in the United States. He faces life in prison if convicted. The new charge represents a serious escalation of the legal issues facing Mr. Zazi, who was charged last weekend with the far less-serious charge of lying to FBI agents investigating a purported al Qaeda bombing plot involving several people in the U.S. and Pakistan.
"We are investigating a wide range of leads related to this alleged conspiracy, and we will continue to work around the clock to ensure that anyone involved is brought to justice," Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said. "We believe any imminent threat arising from this case has been disrupted, but as always, we remind the American public to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement."
The other two cases played out far differently from that of Mr. Zazi, but were similar to each other. In those cases, the FBI learned about two men espousing a desire to engage in jihad and sent undercover agents to pose as conspirators.
In Illinois, 29-year-old Michael Finton told undercover agents that he wanted to attack America. Agents gave him a phony bomb that Mr. Finton planted at courthouse, authorities said.
Mr. Finton is charged with one count of attempted murder of federal officers or employees and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. He faces life in prison if convicted.
In Dallas, Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, 19, was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. In tactics similar to Mr. Finton's case, FBI agents posing as terrorists approached Mr. Smadi after learning of his desire for holy war, authorities said.
Ultimately, the FBI said, agents gave him a phony bomb that he planted at a 60-story glass office building in downtown Dallas.
The investigation into Mr. Zazi was far more complex.
Products more closely associated with hairdressers than holy warriors were key to authorities building a case against Mr. Zazi, federal authorities said in court papers filed with an indictment of Mr. Zazi that were unsealed Thursday.
Federal authorities said that surveillance video footage and receipts show Mr. Zazi and others who have not been identified publicly bought from beauty supply stores across Denver large quantities of products containing hydrogen peroxide and nail polish remover.
In one episode, authorities say, Mr. Zazi, a legal permanent resident from Afghanistan who worked as an airport shuttle driver in Denver, bought a dozen 32-ounce bottles of a hydrogen-peroxide product called Ms. K Liquid 40 Volume, which is used in hair coloring.
Mr. Zazi appeared Thursday in federal court in Denver; authorities asked that he be denied bail and sent to New York to face charges. A decision could be announced as soon as Friday.
Mr. Zazi's father and a New York imam have also been charged with lying to the FBI, but neither man has been linked to the purported plot and both have been released on bail.
The imam, 37-year-old Ahmad Wais Afzali, was released Thursday on a $1.5 million bond. His parents' home in the New York borough of Queens was posted as collateral.
"If you don't come back to court, they are going to be ruined financially," the judge told Mr. Afzali, who authorities say tipped off Mr. Zazi about the investigation and then denied doing so to FBI agents.
Mohammed Wali Zazi, 53, was previously ordered released on an unsecured $50,000 bond. He is accused of lying to investigators about discussions he had with Mr. Afzali.
While the scope of the purported plot is still not clear, prosecutors filed documents in the case Thursday that provide the most complete accounting to date of the government's accusations. They indicate the case against Najibullah Zazi was built through surveillance, wiretaps, seized receipts and forensic analysis.
Investigators had Mr. Zazi under surveillance when he drove a rental car from Colorado to New York two weeks ago. Mr. Zazi had lived in Queens before moving to Colorado in January.
Authorities later seized Mr. Zazi's laptop computer from the rental car and found a photograph on it of nine pages of handwritten instructions about bomb making. The FBI said a handwriting expert determined that Mr. Zazi wrote the notes, an accusation he denied to investigators, which led authorities to bring the original lying charges against him.
Court records indicate the notes contained instructions for making triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, which is the type of explosive used in the 2005 London train bombing and what shoe bomber Richard Reid tried to used on an airplane in 2001.
Investigators said they also kept Mr. Zazi under surveillance when he rented a hotel suite in Colorado on Sept. 6-7. Authorities think Mr. Zazi used the suite's stove to cook the components together to make a bomb; agents said they found chemical residue in a vent above the stove.
It appears Mr. Zazi was not successful in making a bomb.
Intercepted communication - court records do not indicate what type - show that Mr. Zazi repeatedly attempted to make contact with another person "to correct the mixture of ingredients to make explosives."
Court records indicate "each communication more urgent in tone than the last. Zazi repeatedly emphasized in the communications that he needed the answers right away."
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