Germany arrests three in 'MASSIVE' terror plot
Three suspected Islamic militants have been arrested in Germany for allegedly plotting "imminent" and "massive" attacks on Frankfurt's international airport and a major U.S. military base, officials confirmed Wednesday.
Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung told German television that the suspects -- two Germans and a Turkish national -- had planned to launch the attacks soon on the airport and the Ramstein Air Base.
"There was an imminent security threat," he said.
The Ramstein Air Base is used as a major U.S. and NATO military hub. It serves as a major conduit for U.S. troops moving in and out of Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
German Federal prosecutor Monika Harms said the three male suspects had received training at terror camps in Pakistan, run by the Islamic Jihad Union.
"We were able to succeed in recognizing and preventing the most serious and massive bombings," Harms told reporters Wednesday.
The trio had formed a German cell of the group and managed to obtain about 1,500 pounds of hydrogen peroxide, officials allege.
The hydrogen peroxide, which was being stored in a hideout, had the potential to be mixed with other additives to produce a bomb with the explosive power of about 1,200 pounds of TNT.
"This would have enabled them to make bombs with more explosive power than the ones used in the London and Madrid (transit) bombings," Joerg Ziercke, the head of Germany's Federal Crime Office, said at a joint press conference with Harms.
Authorities were first alerted to the three suspects in late 2006 because they had been seen observing a U.S. military facility.
The three men were in a German federal court in Karlsruhe Wednesday for a closed proceeding.
Two of the suspects, aged 22 and 28, are both German and converts to Islam. The third suspect is a 29-year-old Turkish man.
Ziercke said the three men were distinguished by their "profound hatred of U.S. citizens."
Prosecutors in Karlsruhe said the arrests occurred Tuesday afternoon following searches across the country.
On Tuesday, Denmark authorities said they had arrested eight suspects believed to have links to al Qaeda. Officials said the eight had been planning a bomb plot.
With files from The Associated Press