Pakistan officials: 8 German militants killed in US strike; No comment from Germans

By Melissa Eddy, AP
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pakistan officials: 8 German militants killed

BERLIN - Pakistani officials said Tuesday that eight German militants were killed in a U.S. missile strike in Pakistan’s rugged mountain border area, but German officials remained tight-lipped over the incident.

The U.S. believes a cell of Germans and Britons are at the heart of a terror plot against European cities - a plan they link to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry said it was investigating the reports but that it was unable to comment further or provide any further information.

Pakistani intelligence officials initially said that the U.S. missile strike in Pakistan had killed five German militants taking shelter in a house in the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan, a known hub for foreign militants with links to al-Qaida. They later increased the number to eight, but gave no reason for the discrepancy.

The terror cell said to be behind the Europe plot - eight Germans and a Briton - were believed to have been in hiding in the region. A second Briton was killed in a U.S. strike last month.

The U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan came on the heels of a U.S. warning for Americans traveling in Europe to be on alert for possible terror attacks, on suspicion that groups linked to al-Qaida were plotting to target tourist magnets in European capitals. Japan also issued a travel warning.

Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, however, insisted there was “no reason to be alarmist.”

Konrad Freiberg, head of the German police union, told the Passauer Neue Presse in its Tuesday edition the travel alerts are to be taken seriously. He warned that ever more Germans are traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan for militant training, “and a large number of them have returned and are living here.”

British police used sniffer dogs to patrol subways on Monday, while soldiers and mounted police were dispatched to two major churches in Paris - Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur. French paramilitary troops were also seen patrolling around the Eiffel Tower - which has been evacuated twice in recent weeks for unspecified threats.

Also, police in southern France arrested 12 suspects in sweeps against suspected Islamic militant networks on Tuesday, including three men linked to a network recruiting fighters for Afghanistan, officials said. The roundups were part of two entirely different counterterrorism cases under investigation by French judges, police said.

Associated Press Writers Jamey Keaten in Paris and Zarar Khan in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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