Islamist suspect held in Germany

An Iraqi man suspected of heading a cell in Germany of the Islamist group Ansar al-Islam has been arrested in Munich.

    Ansar al-Islam were driven from northern Iraq by the US

    A police source said on

    Wednesday the

    29-year-old was arrested at Munich station as he was about

    to leave the city

    .

    The public prosecutor's office in Munich said the man,

    identified only as Muhammad L, was under an arrest warrant for

    having contravened immigration laws by bringing two compatriots into

    Germany.

    The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said the man was suspected of having

    organised the travel of a dozen people to Iraq to commit "suicide

    attacks" against US forces.

    The public prosecutor refused to comment on that allegation,

    saying that investigations were only just underway.

    Al-Qaida links

    Sources from German internal intelligence services told the

    newspaper about 100 Ansar al-Islam militants were present in

    Germany, mainly in the south of the country.

    Cells existed in Berlin, Cologne, Duisburg, Frankfurt, Hamburg

    and large towns in Bavaria, the paper said.

    Another suspected member of the Bavarian cell, named "Doctor

    Omet", has been in custody since March, it added.

    US officials contend Ansar al-Islam has loose links to al-Qaida,

    the network they accuse of being responsible for the September 11

    attacks.

    The group's stronghold in northern Iraq - a cluster of 16

    villages - was devastated by US air strikes in early April during

    the US invasion of Iraq.

    But US commanders have said Ansar al-Islam has made a strong

    comeback, infiltrating Iraq from Iran and setting up operations in

    the Baghdad area.

    SOURCE: AFP


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