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Germany

German Police: Al Qaeda Trained 70,000

Around 70,000 people have been trained in camps run by Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, mainly in Afghanistan, a senior German police officer told a court on Tuesday. Testifying at the retrial of Mounir el Motassadeq, a Moroccan man accused of involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the officer, a commissioner with the federal criminal police, said that the militants had received weapons training and religious instruction. She said the people who trained in the camps were told that US nationals and their allies were enemies and that it was the duty of each Muslim to kill them. They were stripped of their passports on arrival, given a pseudonym and lodged in safe houses before being taken to the camps, she said. Motassadeq, who is charged with complicity in the murder of some 3,000 people in the suicide hijackings and membership of a terrorist organization, has acknowledged undertaking training in Afghanistan. He was jailed for 15 years in Feb. 2003 for his alleged role in the so-called Hamburg cell, but a retrial was ordered last March because US authorities refused to allow a key witness in their custody to testify. A verdict is expected early this year.

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