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Sauerland cell terrorist’s wife one of three arrested for al-Qaida ties

Germany's federal prosecutor’s office said Wednesday it had charged three German citizens with supporting groups linked to al-Qaida, including the wife of a man convicted in March of a thwarted car bomb plot.

Sauerland cell terrorist's wife one of three arrested for al-Qaida ties
Sauerland cell member Fritz Gelowicz during their trial in February. Photo: DPA

The trio, identified only as 21-year-old Alican T., 28-year-old Filiz G. and 31-year-old Fatih K., allegedly supplied cash for the organisations and campaigned for Jihad, or holy war, on the internet.

They were charged with “supporting the foreign terrorist groups German Taliban Mujahideen and the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU),” an extremist organisation linked to militant Islamist group al-Qaida, prosecutors said in a statement.

Two of them are in custody, while authorities are searching for the 31-year-old.

The 28-year-old suspect is the wife of a German convert to Islam, Fritz Gelowicz, who was sentenced in March 2010 to 12 years in jail for what was described the biggest terror plot in German post-war history.

Gelowicz was a member of a four-man IJU cell, known as the “Sauerland cell” after the region where the three were captured in September 2007.

They had planned to murder US soldiers and citizens in Germany with a series of car bombings, but authorities caught the men red-handed as they were mixing chemicals to make some 410 kilogrammes (900 pounds) of explosives, 100 times the amount used in the 2005 London terrorist bombings that killed more than 50 people.

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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