The investigation into the terrorist bomb plot in Germany is likely to take months, the federal prosecutors office said Saturday, while the justice minister called on Muslims to report radicals to the authorities.
The terror suspects were reportedly received orders from Pakistan to act in September
The federal prosecutors office in Karlsruhe confirmed a report from Germany's Focus newsmagazine that three suspects arrested in a German town on Tuesday had bought three small delivery vehicles second hand in France and brought them over the border.
But a spokeswoman for the office would not confirm reports saying investigating officers assumed the vehicles were to be used to deliver massive bombs on or around Tuesday next week to mark the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
Orders reportedly from Pakistan
The men collected a massive supply of hydrogen peroxide to fuel the planned explosion
The three arrested suspects -- two German converts to Islam and a Turk -- were reported to have received their instructions from Pakistan as well as detonators from Syria.
Media reports said US investigators had helped tip off German investigators and track the men by monitoring Internet traffic and that the three men received orders to act by Sept. 15.
Der Spiegel newsmagazine reported that the Federal Criminal Police (BKA) authorities moved against the alleged terrorists after believing the suspects caught wind of the investigation.
The federal police officer, listening in to the suspects' conversation via a bug planted in their car, heard local police say the men were "on a BKA list" during a routine traffic stop, Der Spiegel reported.
A spokeswoman for the federal prosecutors office did not comment on media reports regarding the failed bomb plot, but said the investigation was likely to last several months, barring an unexpected "ground-breaking development."
Ten hardcore members
Investigators are still searching for several alleged terrorists
Federal police chief Jörg Ziercke said police were probing 49 Islamists, with around 10 being regarded as the group's inner circle. Apart from the three arrested, two other hardcore members were still in Germany, the mass-market Bild Zeitung reported.
Police, in most cases, did not have sufficient evidence to justify issuing arrest warrants against the suspects, Ziercke said.
"We're not out of danger," he told Saturday's Die Welt newspaper.
The Tagesspeigel newspaper said Saturday, that terrorist leaders had chosen Germany, which has not suffered an attack connected to radical Islamist terrorists, in order to increase their own international reputation.
Germany refused to take part in the US-led Iraq war but has nearly 3,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan and has been on high alert for attacks.
Minister: Muslims should fight radicalization
Zypries called on Muslims to help identify violent radicals
On the question of the radicalization of Muslim converts -- "homegrown terrorism" remains the subject of intense debate in Germany -- Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries said she was relying on Muslims to report signs of radicalism to the authorities.
"I am sure that the peaceful Muslims in our country do not want to see their religious community discredited by violent radicals," she said in an interview appearing Sunday in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. "That's why I would like to see the communities become active against radicalization and give details to security officials when appropriate."
Experts said the amount of explosive material the three had assembled would have been able to cause explosions far greater than those in London in July 2005 and in Madrid in March 2004. German Prosecutor General Monika Harms declined to comment on the precise targets, but indications from the security forces were that establishments frequented by US citizens, including military personnel, would have been hit by a serious of coordinated car bombs.