German trial shows al-Qaida targeted Europe economy (JERUSALEM POST) By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JPOST CORRESPONDENT 04/04/12)
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KOBLENZ, Germany – The third week of hearings to determine if Ahmad
Wali Siddiqui, a German-Afghani, participated as a member of the
terror groups al-Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
unfolded on Monday and Tuesday. The proceedings shed light on planned
attacks to decimate and undermine Europe’s economy in the fall of
2010 and strong ties between Iran and senior al- Qaida officials.
Convicted German Islamist Rami Makanesi appeared on Monday at the
trial, but refused to testify about his role in terror activities in
Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as slated bombing plans in Europe.
A Frankfurt court convicted the broad shouldered and stocky Makanesi
last year for his membership in al-Qaeda, and sentenced him to nearly
five years in prison.
According to a federal prosecutor at the trial, Makanesi “was the
only source of information” about the campaign to destroy Europe’s
economic infrastructure in 2010.
Al-Qaida assigned Siddiqui and Makanesi to return to Europe with the
aim of “destroying the financial and economic systems of Europe,”
according to testimony at the hearing on Tuesday. The proceeding on
Tuesday revealed a window into al-Qaida’s strategy to drain Germany’s
economy of resources. Testifying on Tuesday, a federal prosecutor,
who interrogated Makanesi, said the terror group sought to increase
security measures to “damage the economy.”
In 2010, the Germany Interior Ministry ordered high-security policies
and actions to protect government buildings, including the Reichstag,
to prevent bomb attacks believed to be connected with al-Qaida.
The information regarding planned attacks in Germany and Europe was
culled from the “investigatory phase” after Makanesi’s arrest in
Pakistan in 2010. Makanesi and Siddiqui were part of the notorious
Hamburg cell number two that departed Germany in 2009 to fight
American and Pakistani forces.
The first Hamburg cell staged the 9/11 attacks, resulting in the
murders of roughly 3,000 people in the US.
Makanesi invoked his right under German law to not testify, largely
because his fresh testimony could expose the German-Syrian citizen to
new criminal proceedings. He transported 20 to 30 anti-aircraft
devices up a mountain in Pakistan to fire against advancing Pakistani
military forces in 2009. After his capture in 2010, he issued
exhaustive confessions to the German authorities about his role in
Iran and activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
According to testimony from the prominent terrorism and Islam expert,
Dr. Guido Steinberg, who is a researcher with the Berlin-based Middle
East and North Africa division of the German Institute for
International Security Affairs, there are three layers to the Hamburg
9/11 al-Qaida cell.
The first layer is the direct participants.
The second group revolves around the core group containing the direct
actors. And the third tier is the Islamists who circulate on the
outskirts of the other groups.
The six days of hearing have thus far revealed fresh evidence of the
role of radical German Islamists in Iran. The popular website The
Long War Journal has long documented the links between al-Qaida and
Tehran. According to reports in the LWJ, Iran’s regime has tolerated
widespread movement of high-level al-Qaida figures between Iran and
Pakistan, and provided a refuge for members of the Sunni-based al-
Qaida terror network. In a series of articles written in late 2011
and early 2012, the LWJ noted “Leaders of German al- Qaida living in
Iran” and cited a US bounty for the capture of Yasin al Suri.
As the key architect of financing for al- Qaida, al Suri, who is also
known as Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, met with members of the German
Islamic group, including Makanesi and a fellow Jihadist from Hamburg,
In late December, the US State Department issued a $10 million dollar
reward for al Suri’s capture or information resulting in his arrest.
Writing in the IHS Jane’s military magazine, Steinberg noted that
Makanesi met a top al-Qaida operative known as Yassin al-Suri in
February 2010. Steinberg wrote that Suri asked Makanesi to “accompany
him to Iran.” He added that Makanesi said that Suri “was responsible
for funneling money and recruits via Iran and that he was known to
cooperate with the Iranian government.”
The revelations at the Koblenz trial have contributed to debunking
the notion that Shi’ite-based Iran refuses to cooperate with Sunni
terror groups. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/04/12)
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