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After a six-month investigation, German authorities have arrested three Islamic militants for allegedly plotting an attack against several U.S. establishments in Germany, including discos, pubs and airports.
The Associated Press originally reported that Frankfurt Airport and the U.S. Ramstein Air Base (which serves as headquarters for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and houses a significant number of American and NATO troops) were also targeted. However, in a correction, the news organization stated the following:
“The Associated Press reported erroneously that Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung specifically mentioned the U.S. Ramstein Air Base and Frankfurt’s international airport as targets. In response to a reporter’s question mentioning the airport and base, Jung confirmed the police operation but declined to provide further details on possible targets. In a news alert on the same story, the AP erroneously reported that German federal prosecutor Monika Harms said the targets were Ramstein and Frankfurt airport. She said U.S. facilities were targeted but did not specify which ones.”
The three suspects—two German converts to Islam and a Turk—are accused of training at terror camps in Pakistan operated by the Islamic Jihad Union. They were found with military-style detonators and large amounts of hydrogen peroxide solution—enough material to produce explosives more powerful than those used in the 2004 Madrid bombings, which killed 191 people, and the 2005 London bombings (52 commuters died).
The arrests occurred after Danish authorities apprehended eight Muslim suspects who allegedly had ties to al-Qaeda, and were also accused of plotting a bomb attack. Authorities could not confirm if the two incidents were related.
Since the World Trade Center attacks—prior to which the perpetrators used Hamburg, Germany, as a base of operations—the German government has been on high alert for terrorist acts. Authorities also suspect that the country’s continued troop involvement in Afghanistan has led to the increased amount of terror plots on its soil.
Last year, two Lebanese men were arrested after a failed attempt to detonate two suitcase bombs on a German train.