Link to al-Qaeda suspected: trial of attack plans in Hamburg begins

Link to al-Qaeda suspected
Trial of attack plans in Hamburg begins

In August 2021, a 21-year-old was arrested while buying a gun. He is said to have planned an assassination on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. A corresponding connection to the Islamist network al-Qaeda is also suspected. Now the man has to answer in court.

In Hamburg, a 21-year-old suspected supporter of the radical Islamic terrorist network al-Qaeda has to answer before the Higher Regional Court for preparing an attack. The federal prosecutor accuses the young man of planning to kill people by using explosive devices and a firearm on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. According to a court spokesman, the accused initially did not comment on the start of the trial.

The accused was arrested in August last year after an attempt to buy a gun from a police officer operating undercover. Further investigations substantiated the allegations, and in December 2021 the authorities informed about the case. According to the indictment, the 21-year-old German-Moroccan had already procured chemicals and other materials to build an improvised black powder explosive device.

According to the investigators, he wanted to orientate himself on the attack on the marathon in the US city of Boston in 2013, carried out by two Islamists. Their explosives consisted of metal containers filled with black powder, and three people died in the explosions.

Weapons and bomb-making materials

In addition, the accused is said to have tried to buy weapons on the so-called Darknet. The man ordered a pistol with 50 rounds of ammunition and a hand grenade from an alleged supplier. However, he was an undercover police officer. When the weapons were handed over, the accused was arrested at the end of August 2021 and then taken into custody.

On the same day, his apartment in Wismar in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and his parents’ apartment in Hamburg were searched, and propaganda videos by Islamist groups and documents on the manufacture of weapons were found. In the weeks that followed, further investigations and searches followed, according to earlier information in a cousin’s apartment also used by the 21-year-old, the material for bomb construction was also discovered.

According to the information at the time, the man had numerous relevant contacts in the radical Salafist scene. He grew up in Hamburg, but initially lived in Morocco for a number of years from 2013. He only returned to Germany in 2020. According to the federal prosecutor’s indictment, he is a supporter of the radical Islamic ideology of the al-Qaeda network, which committed the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

Only after further nationwide searches of acquaintances of the man in November did the authorities inform the public about the status of their investigations. Shortly thereafter, the federal prosecutor’s office took over the processing. For the trial against the 21-year-old, 19 further appointments are planned until August 25th.