Hamburg again

Very thorough reporting on European terrorist plots alert at, centered on that Hamburg mosque that the 9/11 hijackers frequented:

The Imam of the Taiba mosque in Hamburg is Mamoun Darkazanli, a German businessman originally from Syria. The 9/11 Commission identified him as having links to al Qaeda financiers. He was charged in 2003 with membership of al Qaeda by Spanish authorities, but as a German citizen was not extradited. He faces no charges in Germany. Repeated attempts by CNN to reach Darkazanli for a response on the latest plot have been unsuccessful. In the years after 9/11 the Taiba mosque became a magnet for al Qaeda sympathizers across Europe. "They all wanted to come and pray where Mohammed Atta prayed," a German intelligence official told CNN. Hamburg authorities shut down the mosque a few weeks after Sidiqi was arrested. The decision to shut the mosque was difficult, say officials in Hamburg, because the presence in one place of so many militants made it easier to monitor their activities. But they say the mosque had become a recruiting center for jihadists across Europe. Several militants now back in Germany who failed to make it to Pakistan's tribal areas are of continuing concern to German intelligence services, who have kept them under observation. "Their greatest enemy is the United States," a German intelligence official told CNN. A recent report by Hamburg's intelligence services stated that 45 jihadists lived freely and openly in the city, from where they actively supported al Qaeda. High evidence thresholds under the German legal system have made it very difficult for authorities to make arrests, German officials told CNN. In addition to those actively supporting al Qaeda. another 200 Islamists living in the city are described as having "violent tendencies."


Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,