Three men were arrested on suspicion of planning attacks on the U.S. military base in Ramstein and Frankfurt's international airport, the German defense minister said Wednesday.
"There was an imminent threat," Franz Josef Jung told Germany's ARD broadcaster.
He declined to elaborate, but the Sudwestrundfunk public broadcaster said two of the suspects had German citizenship while the third was Pakistani. It also said the men were arrested Tuesday evening and were close to carrying out the attacks.
Sources say it was a large-scale attack planned:
Germany has arrested three men it suspects of belonging to an Islamist terrorist group and planning attacks on Frankfurt international airport and a major U.S. military base, German officials said on Wednesday.
Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung told German television that the three had planned to launch attacks soon and described the plot as "very concrete".
A German security source told Reuters that the plotters had obtained chemicals and detonators that could have led to an attack on the scale of those in Madrid and London in past years, which killed 191 and 52 people respectively.Ties to al Qaeda:
The suspects, two Germans aged 22 and 29 and a 29-year-old Turk, received terrorist training in Pakistan and had close ties to al Qaeda, according to Jorg Ziercke, president of Germany's Federal Criminal Investigation Office.Uniters, not dividers:
Ziercke said the group was united by a "hatred against American citizens"Ramstein is a favorite place of the Ham family, as it's the reason myself and my brothers are here today. My parents met there in the late 60s while my dad was serving at Ramstein and my mom was living there with her family (her dad served there, too). Glad to hear it's safe.
CNN reports that an attack would have happened "in a few days," perhaps to coincide with 9/11.
Update: Part of Islamic Jihad Union, according to ABC:
Here are some of the Union's exploits:
The three suspects two Germans, aged 22 and 28, and a 29-year-old Turk first came to the attention of authorities because they had been observing a U.S. military facility at the end of 2006, officials said. All three had undergone training at camps in Pakistan run by the Islamic Jihad Union, and had formed a German cell of the group.
On July 30, 2004, IJG carried out simultaneous bombing attacks on the US Embassy, the Israeli Embassy, and the Uzbek Prosecutor General, killing at least two people and wounding several. The attacks were highly sophisticated, and they cemented IJG’s status as a real terrorist threat in Central Asia. In their claim of responsibility, the IJG wrote:
“A group of young Muslims executed martyrdom operations that put fear in the apostate government and its infidel allies, the Americans and Jews. The mujahidin belonging to Islamic Jihad Group attacked both the American and Israeli embassies as well as the court building where the trials of a large number of the brothers from the Group had begun. These martyrdom operations that the group is executing will not stop, God willing. It is for the purpose of repelling the injustice of the apostate government and supporting the jihad of our Muslim brothers in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, the Hijaz, and in other Muslim countries ruled by infidels and apostates.”
Fox is reporting there were messages on jihadi web sites promising a "special gift" on 9/11.
Update: Allah connects the dots:
The arrests came not today but yesterday, the same day as the Copenhagen arrests, which is another reason to think they’re connected. The cops in both countries probably coordinated the timing to minimize the risk that one group would get spooked and run.