German police have arrested two suspected al-Qaida terrorists – one who was allegedly trying to buy enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb and another planning a suicide attack in Iraq.
According to a German prosecutor, the arrests, which occurred early Sunday, came after months of investigation, Knight-Ridder reported. The suspects were nabbed after early morning police raids in Mainz and Bonn. President Bush is scheduled to visit Mainz next month, which heightens the security concerns in the city.
It was determined today there was enough evidence to keep the pair in custody pending possible charges.
Authorities described one suspect, Ibrahim Mohamed K., as a 29-year-old German citizen with an Iraqi background. Mohamed K. is said to be a high-ranking al-Qaida operative in charge of recruiting suicide bombers and planning attacks from Europe.
It was not clear if the enriched uranium the suspect attempted to secure even exists. Mohamed K. allegedly tried to buy 48 grams of the material in Luxembourg.
Knight-Ridder reported that, according to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, there were 540 confirmed attempts at illicit trafficking in nuclear and radioactive materials between January 1993 and December 2003. Of those, 17 involved highly enriched uranium or plutonium, the fuels needed to power nuclear weapons.
Mohamed K., whose last name has not been released, was known to have been actively involved with al-Qaida before 9-11. A German resident and passport holder, he is believed to have taken part in several al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan.
After fighting against U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the suspect returned to Europe, where he has traveled freely due to his German citizenship.
The other arrestee is Yasser Abu S., a Palestinian Mohamed K. recruited in September who is suspected of planning a suicide attack in Iraq.
The German prosecutor says 31-year-old Abu S. recently purchased more than 800,000 euro (about $1 million) in insurance policies, and authorities believe that after the planned suicide attack, the money would have gone back to al-Qaida. He reportedly is married to a German medical student and in possession of an Egyptian passport.
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