Three held in German terror raids

 BBC News 

Three men have been arrested in Germany on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks, officials have said.

Federal prosecutors said the three were suspected members of "an Islamist terrorist organisation", but gave no further details.

Media reports said the men were planning attacks against a US military base in Ramstein and Frankfurt airport.

Defence minister Franz Josef Jung confirmed the arrests and said the men had posed "an imminent threat".

"The security services have done a very good job and I can't say anything more at this point," Mr Jung told German television.

They were planning attacks that would have had considerable consequences
Wolfgang Bosbach
German MP

Wolfgang Bosbach, an MP with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, said the suspects had been under observation for a long time.

"We know without any doubt that they were planning attacks that would have had considerable consequences," he told Germany's N24 television, adding that the three had acquired chemicals for the plot.

He said the plot may have been timed to coincide with the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US.

'Major targets'

Reports said that two of the suspects were German while the third was Pakistani.

Government sources told the AFP news agency that the three had links to Pakistan and had been experimenting with explosives and trying to build car bombs.

Map of Germany

Prosecutors said the arrests took place on Tuesday afternoon.

Frankfurt airport is continental Europe's busiest, and the base at Ramstein in western Germany is a major transport hub for US military operations.

Germany, which did not send troops to Iraq, has been largely spared terrorist attacks, but there have been growing concerns that Islamist militants are operating in the country.

Last summer, two suitcase bombs were planted on commuter trains in several towns but they failed to explode.

On Monday, two people with suspected links to al-Qaeda were arrested in Denmark on suspicion of planning a bomb attack.

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