9/11 Mosque Continued To Produce Jihadis

German-speaking militants came from same Hamburg mosque as 9/11 hijackers.

ByRICHARD ESPOSITO, RHONDA SCHWARTZ, MATTHEW COLE and ANNA SCHECTER
September 28, 2010, 2:34 PM

Sept. 29, 2010 — -- Some of the German-speaking militants who have been training for attacks on Western targets in Pakistani training camps may have come from the same Hamburg mosque where Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 hijackers gathered.

US and European officials said Tuesday they had detected a plot to carry out a major, coordinated series of commando-style terror attacks in Britain, France, Germany and possibly the United States by jihadis carrying European passports – a threat they say they learned of from a captured German-speaking terror suspect.

Guido Steinberg, a counter-terrorism analyst at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, said German jihadis have been recruited from mosques in Berlin, Bonn and Hamburg, including the former Al Quds mosque, where Ramzi Binalshibh, Atta, hijacker Marwan al-Shehhi and other conspirators joined forces.

German authorities shut down the al Quds mosque, which had since been renamed Taiba, on August 9. According to Der Spiegel, they raided the Taiba mosque because they believed it was still promoting jihad and that it "may have been a staging area" for would-be jihadis who traveled to training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. German investigators said at the time that they believed 10 men from the mosque had gone to the camps.

Officials now believe at least one team of German jihadists was dispatched to Europe over the summer, travelling on German passports.

Steinberg said it was "quite shocking" that the former al Quds mosque was still producing jihadis. "There is a certain amount of continuity in German jihadism,' said Steinberg.

"Young men were being turned into religious fanatics there," said Christoph Ahlhaus, secretary of the interior for the city of Hamburg at the time the mosque was shut.

"Hamburg cannot become a cradle for Islamists capable of violence," said Ahlhaus, who has since become mayor of Hamburg.

Intelligence and law enforcement authorities in the US and Europe said the information about possible commando-style attacks was based on the interrogation of a suspected German terrorist allegedly captured on his way to Europe in late summer and now being held at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

The captured German reportedly said several teams of attackers, all with European passports, had been trained and dispatched from training camps in Waziristan and Pakistan. Officials say the German claimed the attack plan had been approved by Osama Bin Laden.

US law enforcement officials say they have been told the terrorists were planning a series of "Mumbai-style" commando raids on what were termed "economic or soft" targets in the countries. Pakistani militants killed 173 people with guns and grenades during the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India.

Germans Training in Al Qaeda-Connected Camps

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events