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Turkish-German terrorist was under government watch

DPA/The Local · 17 Mar 2008, 15:49

Published: 17 Mar 2008 15:49 GMT+01:00

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According to authorities in the German state of Bavaria, 28-year-old Cüneyt Ciftci was born in Freising and had held an open-ended visa since 2000. In 2007 he failed to register his address with public authorities.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said on Monday that Cüneyt Ciftci, who lived in Ansbach and had two young children with his Turkish wife, left Germany for Turkey on April 2, 2007, and the whereabouts of his family are unknown.

"He realized that German security authorities had him in their sights," Herrmann said.

According to a leader of the Islamic Community of Milli Görüs (IGMG) in Ansbach, Cüneyt Ciftci frequented an Ansbach mosque before losing contact the community about a year ago. The IGMG leader said Ciftci was not a member of the organization.

Ciftci was a "very normal person," he said, going on to say that he couldn't explain why he would have committed such a crime.

Officials from the Ansbach immigration office said that IGMG is regularly scrutinized, but has not yet raised any suspicions. The same goes for the Turkish Islamic association DITIB that operates a mosque in the city of 40,000.

On March 6, a group that monitors Islamist websites reported that a Turk from Germany had carried out a suicide attack that killed two NATO soldiers and two civilians in eastern Afghanistan on March 3. The Islamic Jihad Union posted a statement online that said one of its members was responsible for the attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, but German authorities have yet to confirm his identity.

The man behind the attack was identified as Cuneht Ciftci, alias Saad Abu Fourkan. The statement said he had carried out “successfully a martyr operation against a military base of occupying infidels and apostate units in the Sabari Ulus Valley,” according to SITE.

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The attacker used a vehicle with 4.5 tonnes of explosives and killed “at least 60 American soldiers and some 70 infidel Afghan soldiers,” the Islamic Jihad Union claimed. The group also posted photos of the attacker online.

The Taliban claimed the attack through Afghan media, according to a information compiled from NATO sources and Afghan police. About 20 people were hurt, including 15 NATO soldiers.

The attack occurred in the Sabari district in the Khost province, which borders Pakistan. The powerful truck bomb blast struck a district government compound housing an Afghan army unit, under the protection of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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