German Trial Begins in Alleged Anti-U.S.

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DUESSELDORF, Germany—A plot to attack German and United States interests in central Germany has four men on trial Wednesday. Authorities had discovered and stopped the plan in 2007, before any of the attacks could be carried out.

German prosecutors asserted that the suspects had planned car bomb attacks on various locations such as nightclubs, airports, and pubs. Target cities included Stuttgart, Cologne, Duesseldorf, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Munich and Ramstein—the location of a large United States military air base.

The suspects intended to kill large numbers of Americans in the attacks, which were to occur before an October 2007 vote by the German parliament on whether or not maintain the German troops in Afghanistan.

All four suspects are either 30 or younger. Two are German and two are Turkish; they face charges that include membership in a terrorist organization, in addition to conspiracy to commit murder.

The named head of the group, Fritz Gelowicz, was arrested by authorities, along with Daniel Schneider and Adem Yilmaz, at a cottage they were renting in central Germany. These arrests too place on September 4, 2007. A fourth man, Attila Selek, who was captured in Turkey in November 2007 and later taken to Germany to face charges.

All four suspects are accused of being members of an offshoot of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan—the radical Islamic Jihad Union.

The group orchestrated the bombings at United States and Israeli embassies in July 2004. The members, who have been trained by al-Qaeda instructors, have been linked to notorious al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

During Schneider’s arrest, he was able to steal the officer’s handgun and fire a shot, although no one was injured in the incident. Schneider now faces an additional charge of attempted murder, which carries a possible sentence of imprisonment for life.

The Duesseldorf state court is expecting the scheduled trial to last at least until the end of August.

 

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