Roberto Pfeil/AP
German Federal police station at the
Cologne Bonn Airport

Two Terror Suspects Arrested Aboard German Plane

September 26, 2008 11:28 AM
by Christopher Coats
German authorities arrested two men suspected of terrorist acts just moments before takeoff, as Europe continues to grapple with a “home-grown” threat.
Although the pair carried no weapons or explosives of any kind, they had been monitored by law enforcement for several months and were found to have left a suicide note in their apartment.

Taken into custody with little fanfare shortly before their KLM flight, bound for Amsterdam, was to take off from Cologne, the two unnamed men are “suspected of wishing to participate in jihad and possible attacks," though actual charges against the two men are still unclear, according the BBC.

Both men are of Somali origin and in their early 20s. But one of the two is a German-born citizen, an emerging trend among terror suspects causing alarm in Germany.

After the arrests, the men’s luggage was removed from the plane and the remaining passengers’ luggage was inspected. The plane then took off without further incident.

Less than a month ago, German police arrested three men suspected of organizing a chemical weapon attack, which shocked the public both for its grand scale and its involvement of native-born Germans in the plot, Deutsche Welle reported.

Although the country—and indeed much of Europe—has struggled with terrorist threats from individuals who grew up elsewhere and immigrated to Germany, law enforcement now say they face a growing surge of “home grown” Islamists.

Last month’s arrests surrounded a plot to use more than 550 kg (about 1,200 lbs) of explosives, aimed at social and travel hotspots frequented by Americans. Of the three suspected, Fritz Gelowicz, 29 and Daniel Schneider, 22 had both been born and raised in Germany and converted to Islam before becoming involved in the plot.

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