The Mainz chance

German law enforcement authorities have made two eye-opening arrests of suspected al Qaeda members in Mainz, Germany: “Germany: Two suspected al Qaeda members detained.” The AP reports:

German police on Sunday arrested two suspected al-Qaida members who allegedly planned a suicide attack in Iraq, federal prosecutors said. One of the men – said to be a veteran of training camps in Afghanistan – also allegedly tried to obtain uranium.
Police arrested Ibrahim Mohamed K., a 29-year-old Mainz resident from Iraq, on suspicion of recruiting suicide attackers in Germany and providing logistical help to the terrorist organization. He also is believed to have tried to obtain 48 grams of nuclear material in Luxembourg.

President Bush is scheduled to visit Mainz next month, though there is no alleged connection of President Bush’s visit to the plot. The arrests seem to indicate the financial resourcefulness to which al Qaeda has been forced to resort:

The other suspect, a 31-year-old Palestinian who was born in Libya and has an Egyptian passport, Yasser Abu S., is believed to have planned to fake his death for insurance money and then carry out a suicide attack in Iraq, chief federal prosecutor Kay Nehm told reporters in the western German city of Karlsruhe.
The Iraqi “played a not unimportant role in al-Qaida, because he showed signs of contact with Osama bin Laden and met with Ramzi Binalshibh,” one of the pilots in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Nehm said.
Nehm said that the man trained multiple times in camps in Afghanistan before the attacks. He then spent more than a year in Afghanistan after the attacks fighting American forces, he said.
During this time he had contact with high-ranking leaders of the terrorist organization, they said.
“This convinced him not to seek the original aspiration of martyrdom as a suicide attacker, but rather to recruit suicide attackers in Europe,” prosecutors said in a statement.
He is believed to have recruited the Palestinian suspect – a Bonn medical student – in September for a suicide attack in Iraq, getting more than 800,000 (US$1 million) in life insurance for him, with the aim of faking the man’s death in a car accident in Egypt, prosecutors said. The majority of the insurance payoff was to fund al-Qaida activities, they said.

UPDATE: A reader writes:

It’s not your error or even the Jerusalem Post’s [in the linked AP story] but it’s certainly untrue that Ramzi Binalshibh was one of the pilots in the September 11th attacks. He was a planner and was arrested on the one year anniversary of the event. The German prosecutor was wrong and should have been called on the error somewhere along the line.

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