‘EU militants training in Pakistan to strike in the West’

November 14th, 2007 - 2:23 am ICT by admin  
“There have always been people going to Pakistan, but it is more frequent now,” the paper quoted a senior French intelligence official, as saying.

“The emerging route, illuminated by alleged bomb plots dismantled in Germany and Denmark last month, represents a new and dangerous reconfiguration,” write Dirk Laabs and Sebastian Rotella in the LA Times.

Those who are getting training on the Pakistani-Afghan border include European converts and militants from Arab, Turkish and North African backgrounds and unlike Iraq, where foreign fighters plunge quickly into combat, recruits in Pakistan are more likely to be groomed for missions in the West, Daily Times reported.

“Pakistan worries me more than Iraq,” a top Belgian anti-terrorism official said.

The daily further reported that in the past, the main threat from that part of the world has involved young men from Britain’s Pakistani diaspora targeting Britain and the United States.

However, extremists from North African and Arab immigrant communities in Germany, France, Spain and Italy have been more likely to join networks based in North Africa or the Iraq region, the daily said.

But now-a-days, even small countries such as Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland have detected non-Pakistani extremists going to Pakistani training outposts, an intelligence official said.

“I think that Europe has been at extremely high risk during the past six months,” said the official, adding, “First, because many fighters have returned from Iraq. Second, because of the real problem of Pakistan.”

In the Danish case, the leader of an alleged cell was trained by Al Qaeda in Pakistan in an apparent plot to kill Danish civilians, partly as revenge for the publication of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), anti-terrorism officials said.

In the German case, in September police had arrested three suspects accused of assembling 1,500 pounds of explosive materials for vehicle bombings near US military bases. The trio allegedly took orders from Islamic Jihad Union, an Al Qaeda ally based in Pakistan.

According to intelligence officials, in 2005, the three main suspects spent time at the Qortoba Arabic-language School in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, intelligence officials say.

As per Pakistani and US intelligence reports provided to German investigators, Fritz Gelowicz, the accused ringleader, reportedly met a key contact - a militant from Balochistan - at a Koranic school in Damascus, Syria, in 2005. And in March 2006, Gelowicz and two other suspects trained at a camp in the lawless Waziristan region. (ANI)

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