Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001 - Germany

Immediately following the September 11 attacks, Chancellor Schroeder pledged "unreserved solidarity" with the United States, initiated a sweeping criminal investigation in close cooperation with US law enforcement, and moved to prepare the German public and his Government to adopt antiterrorism legislation that included closing legal loopholes and increasing the monitoring of suspected terrorist groups.

On 16 November the Bundestag approved German military participation in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). German soldiers are currently serving in OEF and the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and Germany has taken a leading role in efforts to train and equip a new Afghan police force.

Soon after the attack, German police conducted raids on several apartments in Hamburg where the September 11 hijackers and associates once resided. Numerous law-enforcement actions followed.

On 10 October, German police arrested a Libyan, Lased Ben Henin, near his Munich home in coordinated raids that also included the arrest of two Tunisians in Italy. Ben Hanin is suspected of links to al-Qaida's terrorist network and was extradited to Italy on 23 November.

On 18 October, German authorities issued an international arrest warrant for Zakariya Essabar, Said Bahaji, and Ramzi Omar who allegedly belonged to a Hamburg terrorist cell that included three of the September 11 hijackers.

On 28 November, German police arrested Mounir El Motassadeq, a 27-year old Moroccan, at his Hamburg apartment on charges he controlled an account used to bankroll several of the September 11 hijackers and had "intensive contacts" with the terrorist cell. The Federal Prosecutor's Office stated that El Motassadeq had close contact over a period of years with several members of the Hamburg cell, including the suspected ringleader, Mohamed Atta. He had power of attorney over hijacker Marwan al-Shehhi's bank account, according to the statement.

On 12 December, Germany banned a network of radical Islamic groups centered on the Cologne-based Kaplan organization. Police conducted 200 house searches in seven different German states in connection with the ban and seized the headquarters of the Kaplan group, which authorities had previously characterized as antidemocratic and anti-Semitic. The ban also covers the Kaplan-associated foundation, "Servants of Islam" and 19 other subsidiary groups with a total of approximately 1,100 members. The leader of the group, Metin Kaplan, who is serving a jail term for calling for the murder of a rival religious leader, is widely known in Germany as the "Caliph of Cologne."

Germany increased funding for the security services by some $1.5 billion and announced the creation of 2,320 new positions in various agencies to combat terrorism. Government authorities are using advanced technology to uncover potential terrorists, including so-called "sleepers" and terrorist-support personnel in Germany.

After four years of testimony and deliberations, a German court convicted four of five suspects in the 1986 bombing of the Labelle Discotheque in Berlin, in which two US servicemen died. One defendant was convicted of murder while three others were convicted as accessories to murder and sentenced to prison terms of 12-14 years each. A fifth suspect was acquitted for lack of evidence. The court's verdict also made clear Libyan Government involvement in planning and facilitating the attack. The prosecution has appealed the verdict to seek longer sentences, while the defense has appealed as well; the appeal process could take up to two years.


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