Report: Suspect’s notebook had reference to rural town where Army base is located
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Investigators of a suspected al-Qaida cell in Düsseldorf discovered a reference to this rural Bavarian town, which hosts a major U.S. Army base, among the suspected ringleader’s documents, according to a German media report citing the unreleased federal indictment of four suspects.
The words “Grafenwöhr/Crafenwöhr” were written in a spiral notebook belonging to the individual, a Moroccan identified by the federal prosecutor’s office as Abdeladim El-K, according to the Berlin-based taz.de news site. On the back of the notebook, the words “attack” and “execution” were written in French, taz.de reported.
The same notebook included the name of the former commander of the German army special forces, according to the site. Investigators characterized the notes as a kind of brainstorming of potential targets, taz.de reported.
German prosecutors say the four men were gathering bomb-making materials for an attack on an undetermined target on German soil when arrested in 2011. Abdeladim El-K recruited the three alleged accomplices, ages 20 to 32, after returning to Düsseldorf from an al-Qaida training camp in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the federal prosecutor’s office.
The trial of the four men on charges of membership in a foreign terrorist organization opened last week in Düsseldorf.
Klaus Schumacher, deputy spokesman from the court in Düsseldorf, said investigators found notes from one of the accused that mentioned airports and train stations as apparent targets.
“But there were also military targets mentioned,” said Schumacher, without elaborating.
Marcus Köhler, spokesman from the federal prosecutor’s office, said he could not comment on the taz.de article because the legal proceedings are still going on. He said the indictment cited by the news site was not public, and while the suspects had no concrete target, evidence points to their planning of an “attention-getting attack” with explosives.
A spokesman for U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwöhr referred questions to U.S. Army Europe. A USAREUR spokesman declined to say whether the command was informed of a potential threat or what actions may have been taken, saying disclosure of security-related details could jeopardize those affiliated with the base.
The small town of Grafenwöhr is home to U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwöhr, which hosts two of Europe’s four Army combat brigades and the Army’s largest training command outside the U.S. It is split between two posts, one in Grafenwöhr that hosts the headquarters, armor and infantry units of the 172nd Separate Infantry Brigade, and one in Vilseck that houses the full 2nd Cavalry Regiment.
More than 25,000 soldiers, civilians and Germans work on the post, according to garrison figures.