Germany searching for 2 alleged terrorists
HEIDELBERG, Germany — German federal police have sent out “wanted” posters for two Germans who they say are training at a Pakistan terrorist camp and planning suicide attacks such as one carried out in Afghanistan last month that killed two U.S. soldiers, according to German media.
The two are members of an Islamist cell that German police busted in September when three of its other members were brewing up bombs, authorities said, to kill Americans in Germany.
The two men in the posters — one a German, the other born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany — have been in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan for several months, German authorities told Spiegel magazine.
The two men were thought to be planning an attack on German soldiers in Afghanistan, the newspaper and other German media reported over the past two weeks. “Wanted” posters of the two have been circulating there since the beginning of the month, the reports said. The posters are in English and warn that each man is suspected of planning bomb attacks, and authorities have said that they might also try to bomb other NATO troops.
Focus magazine identified them as Eric Breininger, 20, and Houssain al-Malla, 23.
The two had been living in Neunkirchen, a town near Saarbrücken.
Breininger and al-Malla are “known followers of the IJU (Islamic Jihad Union) and are considered very dangerous and fanatic,” according to the Saarbrückner Zeitung.
The two men’s suspected plans underscore continuing concern with a terror threat that increased in Germany last year and, for the first time, involved native-born Germans.
Breininger, who was born in Neunkirchen, had been a roommate of Daniel Schneider, one of two Germans who were arrested along with a Turkish-born German resident in September for allegedly plotting to bomb several U.S. military targets in Germany and Frankfurt International Airport.
Schneider, Fritz Gelowicz and Adem Yilmaz were arrested as they were “cooking” hydrogen peroxide to build the bombs at a rented house in Sauerland, in northcentral Germany, German authorities said.
Authorities say all are members of the Islamic Jihad Union, a radical Islamist group that started as an obscure Uzbek organization and is now based in Pakistan and also established in Germany.
Among its members was Cüneyt Ciftci, reportedly the driver of an explosives-laden pickup truck that struck a U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan on March 3, killing two U.S. soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division and wounding several others.
Ciftci had lived in Ansbach, Germany, then traveled via Turkey in April 2007, to a terrorist training camp in Pakistan, according to German media reports. Last month, authorities said Ciftci, 28, the Bavarian-born son of Turks, was apparently the first German-born Islamist to become a suicide bomber.
Al-Malla was arrested last summer when trying to enter Pakistan — ostensibly to go to a terrorist training camp — and Pakistani authorities sent him back to Germany. A few weeks later, authorities told news media, he went to Egypt.
Breininger last summer was living with Schneider in Nuenkirchen, and went to Egypt shortly before Schneider and the others were arrested.
According to several German news reports, Breininger and al-Malla met in Egypt and traveled to Pakistan through Iran.
Breininger converted to Islam a little more than year ago, according to the articles, and was recruited into the IJU by Schneider. He told his family he wanted to be called “Abdul Rafar,” and told his grandmother he no longer considered himself German, then broke off contact with his family and his pregnant girlfriend, according to Focus.