London, Oct.7 (ANI): German intelligence services have reportedly discovered a new Islamic terrorist cell operating from the port of Hamburg - the same city from which the devastating 9/11 attacks on the United States were secretly conceived and planned eight years ago.
According to The Independent, the existence of the new militant group was revealed in a secret report prepared by Hamburg-based intelligence agents which was leaked to German television's investigative documentary programme Report Mainz and Die Welt newspaper.
The cell, which had ten members, was headed by a German of Syrian extraction, was identified only as Rami M.
All ten were said to have left Hamburg earlier this year to attend paramilitary training camps in the Hindukush mountans. However two of the cell's members were reported to have recently returned.
All of them were said to have used Hamburg's Taiba Mosque as a meeting place, the same location frequented by the 9/11 leader Mohammed Atta and his accomplices before they carried out the attacks on New York's World Trade Centre and Washington.
The disclosures came amid heightened post-general election nervousness in Germany about the possibility of terrorist attacks and the release of some eight al-Qa'ida internet videos in German threatening violence in response to the continued deployment of 4,200 Bundeswehr troops in northern Afghanistan.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Germany's security services were heavily criticised for failing to catch the perpetrators. Since then they appear to have redoubled their efforts and operate closely with their US counterparts.
The leaks about the Hamburg cell came only days after German anti-terrorist police took the unprecedented step of throwing a massive security cordon around the Munich Oktoberfest.
Revellers at the world's largest beer festival held in the Bavarian capital each autumn were searched and fighter jets were put on standby near the site.
German security experts have interpreted the latest threats as an attempt to put pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel's new coalition of conservatives and liberals, which is committed to keeping troops in Afghanistan for the forseeable future. (ANI)