2007 bomb plot in Germany

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2007 bomb plot in Germany
Location Medebach, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Target Ramstein Air Base, Frankfurt Airport and other public locations
Attack type
Car bombing, mass murder (attempted)
Weapons Hydrogen peroxide and military-grade detonators
Deaths none
Non-fatal injuries
none
Perpetrators Fritz Gelowicz, Atilla Selek, Daniel Schneider, Adem Yilmaz

The 2007 bomb plot in Germany (German: Sauerland-Gruppe, "Sauerland Group") was discovered following an extensive nine-month investigation, involving some 300 people,[1] three men were arrested on 4 September 2007 while leaving a rented cottage[2] in the Oberschledorn district of Medebach, Germany where they stored 700 kg (1,500 lb) of a hydrogen peroxide-based mixture and 26 military-grade detonators[3][4] and were attempting to build car bombs.[5] They were convicted and sentenced to long jail sentences.

Perpetrators[edit]

The three suspects were all unemployed.[6] Two were German converts to Islam from Christianity,[7] who had attended Pakistani camps run by Islamic Jihad Union.[8]

Fritz Gelowicz (born 1979), was born in Munich and moved to Ulm with his parents and brother at the age of 5. He converted to Islam between the ages of 15-18 while attending the Multi-Kultur-Haus in neighboring Neu-Ulm with friend Tolga Dürbin, and used the name Abdullah.[1] He was married in January 2007, to a German-Turkish woman. He was attending college in Ulm, studying to be an engineer.[9] He was raised in an upper middle class family where his father was a solar heating salesman and his mother was a nurse.[6][8] His parents separated when he was 15, and Gelowicz remained with his father. He was considered the leader of the plot.[1][10]

Daniel Schneider (born 1986), lived in Saarbrücken. He dropped out of the twelfth grade after only a few weeks. He converted to Islam at the age of 19, and spent time studying the Koran and Arabic in Egypt.[11] Like Gelowicz, Schneider's parents were divorced when he was young and Schneider had many Turkish friends, who seem to have introduced him to Islam. Schneider also spent 9 months as a conscript in the German army and trained in munitions. He met Gelowicz and Yilmaz at an Islamic Jihad Union training camp in Pakistan.

Adem Yilmaz (born 1979), was raised in Turkey.[12] He came to Germany with his family in 1993. He has two younger sisters and a younger brother. His family lives in Germany's Hessian area.[13] Seven lesser figures are also being hunted. Only five are known by name. The other two have been identified by aliases. Four of the ten suspects (including Yilmaz) have been identified as Turkish.[14]

Investigation[edit]

The suspects had been under observation since the end of 2006, when Fritz Gelowicz had been spotted suspiciously observing a US Air Force base in Hanau.[15] The suspects had rented a vacation house in the remote town of Oberschledorn, where they amassed 700 kg (1,500 lbs) of hydrogen peroxide, and military-grade detonators from Syria.[16]

A July 20 conversation between two suspects mentioned targeting "a disco filled with American sluts," as well as Ramstein Air Base and the Frankfurt airport.[17]

A phone call from northern Pakistan in late August is purported to have set a September 15 deadline for the group's attacks.[17] The group was aware that they were being watched by police, one member even slashing an unmarked police car's tires while stopped at an intersection.[17]

A routine traffic stop by police not involved in the investigation led to the officers mentioning that the drivers were on a federal watchlist, a comment that federal bugs recorded the suspects overhearing and discussing. This led to an immediate unscheduled raid on their cottage.[17] The men were preparing to move the chemicals by van when they were arrested outside the home on September 4. There was a minor scuffle and one of the men shot a German police officer in the hand before being subdued.[18]

Some[by whom?] had speculated over a possible link between the German arrests and the ones in Denmark only hours earlier. Officials have denied that any such connection exists.

Bombing materials[edit]

The solution containing 35% hydrogen peroxide[19] had been purchased legally.[20] The Pakistani terror camps had reportedly trained their members to make bombs using peroxide as it was easy to procure, and unlikely to rouse suspicion.[21]

Three used vans had also been purchased in France, and brought into Germany, possibly to be the carriers for the bombs.[2]

Aftermath[edit]

Tougher terror legislation was proposed by German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries. The new laws would make it illegal to train and/or obtain substances for an attack. The proposed penalty would be up to ten years in prison.[22]

Gelowicz, Schneider, Yilmaz, and Atilla Selek went on trial in Germany on April 22, 2009.[23]

Sentencing[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Landler, Mark; Kulish, Nicholas (6 September 2007). "German Police Arrest 3 in Terrorist Plot". New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  2. ^ a b The Times of India: Terror suspects brought 3 vans into Germany, says official, September 8, 2007
  3. ^ Kulish, Nicholas; Mekhennet, Souad (8 September 2007). "From Fritz to Adbullah: conversion shocks Germans". New York Times (The Age). Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  4. ^ Der Spiegel: Teenager schmuggelte Zünder nach Deutschland, 6 October 2007
  5. ^ "Communications Intercept Led To Bomb-Plot Arrests". Los Angeles Times (TBO). 7 September 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2007. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b Schofield, Matthew (6 September 2007). "Germany considers monitoring converts to Islam on Internet". McClatchy-Tribune (Houston Chronicle). Archived from the original on 18 September 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  7. ^ Katrin Bennhold: Letter from Europe: Local terrorism suspects puzzle Germany, International Herald Tribune, 12 September 2007
  8. ^ a b Higgins, Alexander G. (7 September 2007). "Germans Concerned About Muslim Converts". Forbes. Associated Press. Retrieved 8 September 2007. [dead link]
  9. ^ Boyes, Roger (7 September 2007). "German terror suspect 'met 9/11 hijacker'". The Times (London: Times Online). Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  10. ^ "Die Bombenbauer aus der Provinz". Spiegel Online. 7 September 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  11. ^ "Die Bombenbauer aus der Provinz". Spiegel Online. 7 September 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  12. ^ Gomez, Edward M. (6 September 2007). "Germany's thwarted bombers: "Not an abstract danger, but a very real threat"". SFGate. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  13. ^ "Die Bombenbauer aus der Provinz". Spiegel Online. 7 September 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  14. ^ Dempsey, Judy; Bennhold, Katrin (8 September 2007). "Germany Debates Security Measures". New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  15. ^ Die Welt online: "Klarer Auftrag" für Attentate kam aus Pakistan, September 7, 2007
  16. ^ Süddeutsche Zeitung: Spuren führen nach Syrien und Pakistan, September 8, 2007
  17. ^ a b c d Erik Kirschbaum: German suspects had deadline for attacks: report, Reuters, September 8, 2007
  18. ^ Purvis, Andrew (2007-09-05). "German Plot Signals al-Qaeda Revival". TIME. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  19. ^ AP: Militant group claims responsibility for foiled bombing attacks in Germany, The Canadian Press, September 12, 2007[dead link]
  20. ^ David McHugh and Ann Cahill: Suspected terror plot thwarted in Germany, Irish Examiner, September 6, 2007
  21. ^ The Washington Post: Germany Says It Foiled Bomb Plot, September 5, 2007
  22. ^ AP/Geir Moulson: New German Terror Laws Proposed, Time, September 19, 2007
  23. ^ German Trial of Anti-U.S. Terrorist Suspects Starts
  24. ^ press release of the High State Court of Düsseldorf
  25. ^ "Four jailed over plot to attack U.S. bases". MSNBC. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 

External links[edit]