Fears of a second suicide bombing by a German national have risen after a convert to Islam calls for holy war in an Internet video. EU officials have put posters of the suspect at all the bloc's entry points.
A 20-year-old German called for jihad in a new Internet video
The video, posted on the "Time for Martyrdom" Web site, shows 20-year-old Eric B. from the western state of Saarland wearing an ammunitions belt and holding a machine gun. The mountainous backdrop has led some to believe it was filmed in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"Come over to the jihad, for that is your way to paradise," he proclaims in halting German. "If you cannot come, then help us with your wealth."
Connections to the Islamic Jihad Union
B., who calls himself Abdulgaffar al-Almani in the video, is reportedly known to German intelligence agencies. Authorities have been tracking his whereabouts at least since September 2007, following B. and his travelling companion, Houssain al-M., a 23-year-old German of Lebanese descent, throughout the Middle East.
Their surveillance was sparked by the raids in North Rhine-Westphalia that uncovered a Saarland-based branch of the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU). Those raids came after a warning from the CIA that the IJU was planning attacks against the American interests in Germany. Authorities thwarted those plans and arrested three men -- two German converts to Islam and a Turk.
Authorities on alert
Authorities fear Cifcti could be a role model for Eric B.
Afterwards, the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) issued an alert for four additional members of the cell, including B. and al-M. A third person, Cuneyt Cifcti, a 28-year-old Turk raised in Germany, carried out a suicide bombing in the Khost province of western Afghanistan that killed two US and two Afghan soldiers in March.
Cifcti's preparations were well-documented through video, and analysts fear that he may have become B.'s role model. They also fear that B.'s appearance in the film with his face uncovered heralds an imminent attack.
He is suspected to have received terrorist training in an IJU camp and was last seen in Kabul in early April, leading some to speculate that he could be planning a suicide bombing there.
Wanted posters with his picture on are hung throughout Kabul and his photograph recently appeared in the US army newspaper, Stars and Stripes. His photograph is also posted at all EU entry points and in all German airports in hopes of preventing a possible European attack.
A German Islamist network
Analysts say the video could herald an imminent attack
The video comes a week after German security agents conducted nationwide raids aimed at disrupting a network of Islamists. The raids on homes, clubs, and publishing houses, included the arrest of nine men suspected of trying to radicalize Germans and support a holy war abroad. They also heightened the fear of a growing Islamist movement in Germany.