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2 Arrested in Germany on Suspicion of Planning Attacks on US Military Bases - 2002-09-07


German authorities say they have found no links between al-Qaida and a Turkish man and his American fiancee arrested Thursday. The two are held on suspicion of planning an attack on U.S. military bases in Heidelberg on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

German officials say they found 130 kilograms of chemicals and five pipe bombs, along with a picture of Osama bin Laden, in the couple's apartment near Heidelberg where the U.S. Army has its European headquarters.

Authorities say the woman was a civilian employee at a military store on the U.S. base where about 16,000 American soldiers, family members and civilian workers are stationed. Her employment would have allowed her access to facilities on the base. Officials say the man had a hatred for Americans and Jews and worked in a chemical warehouse.

The magazine Der Spiegel reported that the woman had warned a neighbor to stay away from the post's shopping facilities in the coming days and the friend reported the warning to U.S. military police.

The arrests occurred Thursday but German officials did not release details until Friday evening.

The arrests came as German authorities intensified their crackdown on Islamic extremists in Germany.

In another development, the German prosecutor's office said late Friday that U.S. authorities recently arrested an Afghan-born German in the United States on suspicion that he was planning attacks. German authorities are investigating the individual for possible terror links. The suspect is from Hamburg, where three of the September 11 hijackers once lived.