Berlin, Oct 13 (ANI): Despite being spared of terrorist attacks like those that have hit the United States, Britain and Spain, Hamburg in Germany still remains the breeding ground for Islamic radicals, according to security officials.
Recent arrests and terrorism warnings in Europe and Afghanistan have reportedly claimed that a small number of Germans under the influence of terrorist groups are plotting to stage new attacks, either in Germany or in other parts in Europe.
According to the New York Times, officials in Hamburg emphasized that though the vast majority of its Muslim population, about 130,000, rejected violence, there were 2,000 residents who embrace radical ideology and another 45 who accept the ideology of Al Qaeda and global jihad.
"That's what we all experience in America and in other countries and also here, that this phenomenon of the home-grown terrorist increases rapidly. This is an extremism, which grows right here. The recruiting, the radicalisation happens right here, not in other countries," the official said.
The Al Quds Mosque in Germany, where the September 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta prayed and which was believed to be a destination for jihadi tourism, was closed down this year.
It was revealed in 2001, the three men who worshiped at a Hamburg mosque were identified as leaders in carrying out the September 11 plot, including one who flew one of the planes into the World Trade Center.
The decision to close the mosque was made to deny radicals a symbol to rally people to the cause. However, the intelligence official and German experts on terrorism said that closing the mosque did not get rid of those already radicalised but instead drove them underground, the paper said.
In July, the US forces in Afghanistan detained a German citizen who reportedly had ties with to men who helped plot the 9/11 attacks. Recently, after Washington issued the terrorism alert about Mumbai-style terrorist attacks in Europe, several Germans who were believed to be the al-Quada trainees were reportedly killed in a drone strike in Pakistan.
These recent events have put German citizens at the center of the global terrorism scare, the paper said.
Earlier, right after the US issued travel alerts, Germany rejected the same, saying that such announcements play into the hands of terrorists and scare people unnecessarily. (ANI)