Three men suspected of planning attacks at Frankfurt airport and a U.S. military base in Ramstein have been arrested.Two of the suspects were German nationals and one had a Pakistani passport. The AFP news agency is reporting that all three had links to Pakistan and had been experimenting with explosives and trying to build car bombs.
German authorities have arrested three men on suspicion of planning attacks on Frankfurt’s International Airport and the U.S. military base in Ramstein, according to a statement from the German Attorney General’s office.
The suspects are said to be members of an “Islamist-motivated terrorist group” and are expected to go before the judge at the federal magistrate.
“There was an imminent threat,” German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung told Germany’s ARD broadcaster.
The attorney general’s statement said police conducted searches in several German states.
The Sudwestrundfunk public broadcaster reported that two suspects had German citizenship while the third was Pakistani.
Prosecutors in Karlsruhe said the arrests took place yesterday afternoon, and that police had also carried out searches across the country. The suspects are to be brought before a judge later today.
Ramstein Air Base is located in western Germany in Rhineland-Palatinate state and is a major transit point for the U.S. military into the Middle East and Central Asia.
Authorities in both Germany and the United States have warned of the possibility of a terrorist attack, and security measures have been raised.
UPDATE: In-depth Coverage at Spiegel Online
According to Harms, the three men arrested Tuesday afternoon (more…) belong to a German cell of the terror group “Islamic Jihad Union” (IJU). They are accused of preparing terror attacks against US facilities in Germany.
It would have been an inferno. The explosive material the men had would have sufficed to make bombs with a higher explosive power that those used in the attacks in Madrid and London, according to Ziercke.
The three men had planned on mixing the explosive material so as to produce a bomb with the power of 550 kilograms (1,200 pounds) of TNT. The federal prosecutor’s office ordered all three men arrested Tuesday afternoon. The police forces struck in a spontaneous raid because the men, who were already under observation, intended to begin preparing chemicals to make a bomb and to leave their hideout.