Friday, August 26, 2005

Hamburg Anti-Terrorist Alert

Here's a story out of Hamburg, Germany that isn't getting a lot of coverage in the international press:

Three Chechen men who were overheard at a bus stop talking about becoming "heroes before Allah" were detained and questioned on Friday after sparking a major security alert in Germany, but police said they did not appear to have been planning an attack.

A Reuters article offers more info:

More than 1,000 German police were deployed in a large-scale search for three terror suspects in the north German port city of Hamburg on Thursday, a police spokesman said.
Roadblocks and controls were set up at 12 points in Germany's second city after an Arabic-speaking witness overheard the men at a bus stop on Wednesday, praising Allah and heroism in Arabic. One of the men was carrying a backpack.

A police spokesman said the three men were overheard by the witness, whom police said was a credible source, at a bus stop near a local railway station in the Altona district of Hamburg.
The witness told police he heard one of the men use the phrase "heroism before Allah." The men then boarded a bus heading away from the city center.

Hamburg, which has been put on terror alert several times in the past four years, was the home of a group of radical Arab students led by Mohamed Atta, the man who rammed the first of four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Another article states:

Hamburg's top security official, Udo Nagel, said Thursday night that the alert may have resulted from a misunderstanding and that there was no reason for the public to be alarmed.

He said police would not have reacted the same way to similar information two years ago but that their approach has changed, particularly in light of July's London bombings.

Well, glad that their approach has changed...


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