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Germany Uncovers 'Model Plane' Terror Plot

German authorities stage raids after uncovering an alleged Islamist plot to carry out attacks using model airplanes.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/26/2013, 5:17 AM

Berlin
Berlin
Flash 90

German authorities staged raids on Tuesday after uncovering an alleged Islamist plot to carry out bomb attacks using model airplanes, federal prosecutors said, according to the AFP news agency.

Elite police units stormed nine sites in southern and eastern Germany, as well as in Belgium, based on suspicion of "preparation of grievous acts of anti-state violence" as well as money-laundering, the federal prosecutor's office in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe said in a statement.

The searches targeted two men of Tunisian origin "suspected of acquiring information and objects with the aim of carrying out radical Islamist explosives attacks using remote-controlled model airplanes,” according to AFP.

No arrests were made, and prosecutors declined to provide any further details on the suspects or their alleged targets.

"The aim of today's raids is to collect evidence of possible plans and preparations for attacks as well as information about the means of financing radical Islamist terrorism," prosecutors said.

About 90 police officers took part in the raids early Tuesday, based on warrants issued by two German judges and carried out on the orders of the chief federal prosecutor's office and prosecutors in the southwestern city of Stuttgart, reported AFP.

Beyond the two men of Tunisian extraction, the searches also targeted four of their alleged contacts "on suspicion of financing militant jihad" as well as a fifth person accused of money-laundering, the report said.

Public broadcaster SWR reported that several of the suspects studied in Stuttgart, some of them specializing in aeronautics and doing internships in which they flew model airplanes using GPS navigation.

The German raids came one day after six people were arrested in the Paris region in coordinated raids on members of a suspected radical Islamist cell allegedly planning terrorist acts on French soil.

The suspects, aged between 22 and 38, were "all known to police for serious delinquency" and are being detained by the police anti-terrorist unit in the Paris suburb of Levallois.

The members of the suspected Islamist cell include one man from Benin, another from the Comoros and four French nationals, a source close to the case said.

On Tuesday, French intelligence agents arrested three additional suspected members of the Islamist terror cell.

The latest arrests in the south of the country targeted "three individuals known for their jihadism who were being tracked," the French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said. A source close to the investigation said they included a couple and a man.