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Al Qaida 'planned to take German hostages'

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Al Qaida 'planned to take German hostages'
Photo: DPA
14:15 CET+01:00
Documents seized in May linked to al Qaida leaders indicate that the terrorist organisation was aiming to take hostages in Germany and other Western countries as part of a "war of attrition," according to a newspaper report.

In an article published on Sunday, German daily Tagesspiegel said security sources traced the papers to al Qaida leaders on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The documents were discovered when authorities arrested two suspected Islamists in May 2011.

One of the strategy papers said al Qaida was planning a combination of smaller and larger attacks in order to "drive the enemy to desperation." According to other documents, the terrorist group was planning to take hostages and then kill them. They also described plans to use poisons and disguises.

Al Qaida reportedly expected that spreading fear among the population and the implementation of more repressive tactics by authorities would result in the marginalisation of Muslim communities, which would in turn bring in more recruits for the Jihad.

German authorities found the documents, which were encrypted electronic files, when they arrested suspected al Qaida member Maqsood L. of Austria last spring. He and another man alleged to be his accomplice, 26-year-old Yusuf O. from Berlin, will appear in court on Wednesday.

Yusuf O. is accused of helping found a terrorist group, the "German Taliban Mujahideen" (DTM) with other German Islamists in Pakistan"s Waziristan region, starting in September 2009. He later allegedly joined al Qaida.

He and Maqsood L. are suspected of traveling to Pakistan in July 2010, where they were instructed to carry out al Qaida's mission in Europe.

Security experts said the documents allowed German authorities to learn more about the al Qaida leadership's strategic planning for the first time.

The Local/arp

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