The Taiba mosque was just the “gift” that kept on giving. Not in the English sense of the word, but the German meaning: “poison,” freely functioning for far too long as a center (a mecca, if you will) of jihadist indoctrination and planning. Where were moderate Muslims to challenge its toxic influence on their Religion of Peace?
“Hamburg cell at heart of terrorist plot against Europe,” by Nic Robertson and Paul Cruickshank for CNN, October 4:
Hamburg, Germany (CNN) — A group of jihadists from the German city of Hamburg is alleged to be at the heart of the recent al Qaeda plot to launch coordinated terrorist attacks against European cities, European intelligence officials said.
Western intelligence officials say they learned about the reported plot after Ahmed Sidiqi, a German citizen of Afghan descent, was arrested in Afghanistan in July and taken to the U.S. air base at Bagram for questioning. He has not been charged and intelligence sources in Germany say he is cooperating with the investigation.
In early 2009, Sidiqi and 10 others left Hamburg for the tribal areas of Pakistan — where most joined a jihadist group fighting U.S. and coalition forces across the border in Afghanistan, according to German intelligence officials.
Sidiqi told American interrogators that at least one member of his travel group was to be a “foot soldier” in the plot, with other members of the group helping to plan the attacks, a European counterterrorism official told CNN.
Sidiqi divulges new, unverified information every day, the German intelligence sources said.
A German Foreign Ministry official told CNN Monday that German authorities have been given access to Sidiqi in Afghanistan.
The reported plan prompted the U.S. State Department to issue a Europe-wide security advisory for Americans traveling in Europe. […]
On Friday, Sweden raised its threat level from “low” to “elevated,” the third-highest threat level on a scale of five that ranges from “no threat” to “low threat” to “elevated threat” to “high threat” to “very high threat.” […]
The indications provided by the U.S. authorities, in particular regarding terrorist threat in Europe are, of course analyzed, cross-referenced and where appropriate included in our national assessment of the threat, which still relies on a series of elements,” the ministry said. “The terrorist threat remains high in France, the alert level remains unchanged at level red.”
Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office changed its travel advisory for British citizens in France and Germany from a “substantial” threat of terrorism to a “high” threat, but the office said it does not comment on intelligence matters and thus could not say whether the change was related to the U.S. travel alert.
A spokeswoman for Germany’s interior ministry said the country will remain at Level 2 alert, which indicates a “high, probable risk” of a terror attack.
Spain has remained at this stage since January of this year.
But hey, even Sidiqi is a “decent fellow“:
Over the weekend, CNN spoke with Sidiqi’s sister in Hamburg, who said his family was shocked by the allegations against him. She said Sidiqi told his family in 2009 that he was traveling to Afghanistan to start a new life with his wife. They last heard from him shortly before his arrest, when he phoned to tell them that he would soon be returning home because he missed his family, said his sister, who described him as a devout, family-loving man.
German officials said the Hamburg group members were recruited from the Taiba mosque in Hamburg. In the 1990s, that same mosque — then called Al Quds — was attended by Mohamed Atta, who went on to become the lead hijacker in the 9/11 attacks.
A friend of Atta from those days has emerged as a crucial figure in the new plot, European intelligence officials tell CNN. Naamen Meziche, 40, a French citizen of Algerian descent, worked to persuade a number of young men praying at the Taiba mosque to join in jihad, the officials said. Though his exact whereabouts are unknown to authorities, he is thought to be in the Afghan/Pakistan border area. Meziche’s wife told CNN that he was overseas….