Germany detains Islamic State suspects planning attacks on US forces

German investigators have detained five men from Tajikistan suspected of planning Islamist terrorist attacks targeting a US airbase and an unidentified individual, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Four of the men were taken into custody in the western state of North Rhine Westphalia early on Wednesday, the prosecutors told dpa.

The fifth was already in custody after being detained in March last year. The men are all aged between 24 and 32.

The federal investigating authorities believe the five were planning attacks in the name of the Islamic State terrorist group after receiving instructions from Islamic State leaders in Syria and Afghanistan.

“On their orders, they jointly set up a so-called cell in Germany,” the prosecutors said.

After joining Islamic State in January 2019, the men had originally aimed to travel to Tajikistan to engage in a “Holy War” against the government there, but subsequently changed their plans.

They are alleged to have monitored an unnamed US airbase in Germany and conducted surveillance of a person critical of Islam with a view to murder, prosecutors said.

While the attacks were not planned for the immediate future, the men had acquired firearms, and one had secured directions for making a bomb. Components had also been acquired over the internet.

The cell is reported to have collected money in Germany to finance their attacks and to support Islamic State in Syria.

The man previously detained is reported to have stated his willingness to commit a murder in Albania for 40,000 dollars and to have travelled there with another in the group. They failed to carry out their plans.

The suspects were detained in police actions in the city of Siegen and in the towns of Heinsberg and Werdohl in the state.

All five were scheduled to appear in a court in Karlsruhe, the city where Germany’s federal prosecutors are based, on Wednesday. The court will decide whether they are to remain in custody.

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