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German Islamists

November 16, 2009

Federal investigators have identified a 27-year-old German convert to Islam as a potential al-Qaeda suspect, who may be planning attacks against German, and other, targets in Afghanistan.

German trainer coaching Afghan police recruits
Germany has 4,300 troops deployed in AfghanistanImage: dpa

A spokeswoman for the Federal Crime Office (BKA) has confirmed reports that the agency has posted pictures of the German, whose name was given only as Jan Sch., at checkpoints, military installations and international buildings in Afghanistan.

German authorities said the man is believed to be a contact person of the so-called "Sauerland Group", which was suspected of planning terror attacks in Germany and whose members were arrested in September 2007.

Jan Sch., who was born in Kazakhstan and is also known as Hamza, apparently traveled to Saudi Arabia with his wife and son in 2004, but kept in touch with the Sauerland group. The BKA said it had credible evidence that he was also in contact with the al-Qaeda terror network and was currently staying in the region bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In addition to Jan Sch., the BKA has also issued warnings for the brothers, Mounir and Yassin Chouka from Bonn, Javad S. from Bonn, and an Iranian, Shabab D, who lived in Hamburg.

All four of these suspects are said to be staying in the Afghan border area of Pakistan and have appeared in al-Qaeda propaganda videos.

This latest BKA information has fueled concerns about European converts being recruited by Islamist terror groups for attacks against Western targets.

Editor: Michael Lawton