Frankfurt Bomb Plot: Islamic Centre had 'Calamitous Role'

September 9, 2007

Author: Anne Penketh

Source: The Independent

An Islamic centre in the southwest German town of Ulm has emerged as the cradle of radical Islam frequented by at least one of the suspects arrested last week for an alleged plot against US military facilities in Germany.

Fritz Gelowicz, one of two German converts to Islam arrested along with a Turkish national last Tuesday, came under the influence of a radical preacher at the Multicultural House in Neu-Ulm in Bavaria which was shut down as a security threat in 2005. After that, Gelowicz went to the Islamic Information Centre in his home town of Ulm, according to German officials. Police have been to the centre in their search for clues as they widen their manhunt for accomplices of the three.

Islam specialist Udo Steinbach said the Ulm centre had played "a calamitous role".

Details are emerging of the massive nine-month investigation, involving 300 officers and agents, that led to the arrests. The breakthrough reportedly came last year when US intelligence intercepted suspicious communications between Pakistan and Stuttgart, which prompted German police to stake out a dozen internet cafes in the German city before placing the chief suspects under surveillance, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The suspects are believed to have had paramilitary training in Pakistan at a camp linked to al-Qa'ida.