Eight Germans with alleged links to Europe plot killed

Monday, October 4, 2010

PESHAWAR - Eight German nationals thought to be Islamist militants were killed Monday night in a strike by a suspected US unmanned drone in Pakistan.

The pilotless aircraft fired two missiles at a house in Pakistan’s tribal region along the Afghan border, Pakistani security officials said.

The group was believed to be behind the recently uncovered plot to carry out terrorist attacks in Britain, France and Germany.

Three Turkmen were also injured in the strike, which took place in the Mausakee area of Mirali, one of the main towns in North Waziristan, a known hotbed of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters.

“The missiles hit a compound owned by a Taliban member, Sher Maula Khan, who had rented the house to the Germans,” said a local intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Khan was arrested June 21 while trying to escort a German national, later identified by authorities as Rami M., out of the tribal region.

Khan and Rami were disguised as burqa-clad women when they were arrested in the district of Bannu. Rami was extradited to Germany, while Khan remains in custody.

The official said a German called Fayyaz who was active in planning the attacks in Europe had been killed.

Pakistani and Western intelligence officials claimed last month to have uncovered a plot to carry out Mumbai-styled terrorist attacks in Britain, Germany and France - countries that have deployed thousands of troops in Afghanistan.

Ten terrorists allegedly linked to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba killed more than 160 people in Mumbai, India’s financial hub in November 2008.

Dozens of Turkish-German suspected militants have moved to Pakistan’s tribal region for training, and are believed to be accompanied by some native German converts.

Almost all of them are associated with Ittehad-e-Jihad Islami (Islamic jihad union), which is an offshoot of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) that attracts recruits from across central Asia. IJU wields tremendous influence among Islamists in the Turkish-speaking community in Germany.

The IJU has claimed to have recruited hundreds of Europeans. At least 60 of them are German nationals, some of whom have moved to Pakistan’s tribal region with their families.

The group was allegedly behind a botched 2007 attack against the Frankfurt international airport and US military installations at Ramstein air base.

It also claimed responsibility for a 2008 suicide attack in the Afghan province of Khost carried out by Cuneyit Ciftci from Bavaria, western Germany.

The IJU established a separate wing in 2009 to attract European Muslim youth for what they call “jihad against occupying forces” in Afghanistan. The new group was named Taifatul Mansura of which the German Taliban Mujahidin is one branch. Its members are mainly European jihadis already present in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In May 2010, a drone attack killed Eric Breininger, alias Abdul Gaffar el-Almani, the head of the Taifatul Mansura and the German Taliban Mujahidin. His successor was Atwal Abdur Rehman, a German-born Turk who is in his mid-20s and lives in North Waziristan.

Filed under: Terrorism

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