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Detonators to be used in a foiled terror plot that was aimed at Americans and possibly included Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as a target may have been smuggled from Istanbul, Turkey, to Germany by a 15-year-old boy, according to investigators.

On Saturday, Spiegel Online International reported new details about the case against three suspected terrorists who were captured last month at a vacation home north of Frankfurt after a series of raids by German authorities.

“The investigators have also recently discovered how the 26 military detonators which were found in the Sauerland holiday home — and which indicated that a professional terror network was involved — were brought to Germany. A 15-year-old German of Tunisian descent from Wolfsburg named Aladin T., who testified before the court in Karlsruhe on Monday of last week, is believed to have been the courier,” Spiegel reported.

The teenager made the trip from Istanbul to Germany in August. By early September, German authorities were prompted to take action after the suspects — two Germans, age 22 and 28, and a 29-year-old Turk — had recently obtained some 1,500 pounds of hydrogen peroxide, which could be mixed into explosives.

In German court last week, the teen gave this account of how he unwittingly became involved in the plot: Aladin T. told the investigating judge he traveled to Istanbul in August for a family celebration. During the trip, the teen made a visit to a mosque where he was approached by a Turk. The two struck up a conversation, which led to Aladin being asked to carry a white plastic bag containing jeans and shoes back to Germany for a friend who left them behind.

Aladin agreed and was given 100 euros to travel from Istanbul by bus and train to Hannover. The Turkish man told the teen to visit the mosque in Braunschweig where he was then approached by one of the suspects — Fritz Gelowicz, a convert to Islam.

“Gelowicz and Aladin drove from Braunschweig to Aladin’s home in Wolfsburg by car to pick up the pair of shoes. The investigators later found the same shoes, sawed apart, at the Sauerland holiday home: The Islamists had hidden the detonators inside the soles,” Spiegel Online International reported.

While Ramstein and certain pubs in Mannheim and Dortmund were identified by the online paper as potential targets, Spiegel also reported: “The Islamists rejected supermarkets as targets on the basis that too many women and children would be hit; they also felt that discotheques would be less than ideal targets.”

The three suspects first came to the attention of authorities because the men had been observing a U.S. military facility in late 2006, officials said. All three had undergone training at camps in Pakistan run by the Islamic Jihad Union, and had formed a German cell of the group.

At the time of the arrests in September, U.S. European Command in Stuttgart said it had received no information that Ramstein or any other installation was specifically targeted. German authorities also did not name specific locations at the time.

On Tuesday, EUCOM spokesman Maj. John Dorrian declined to discuss specifics about the case. However, Dorrian said: “We continue to remain engaged with our German counterparts as they monitor the threat situation.”

Force protection measures, some apparent and some not, are periodically adjusted to meet security needs, Dorrian said. “It’s our Number 1 priority,” he said.

Following the arrests, German authorities announced that the hunt continued for more suspects. So far, no additional arrests have been reported.

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.

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