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Two Arrested in Germany on Terror Charge

Aired September 6, 2002 - 13:45   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: I am told now we have our Chris Burns on the phone with regard to that story we've been reporting about German police arresting two people in a planned attack on a U.S. base.
Chris, what else do you know?

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, they're two separate cases. The one that you are talking about is in the Heidelberg area. Keep in mind, that is where the U.S. military, the Army, is based in Europe. A Turkish man, 24 years old, was arrested with a large quantity of explosives, according to Germany authorities. They are trying to figure out what he was doing with the explosives. He was arrested yesterday. Authorities are going to give a press conference in the next hour. We hope to find more details on that.

There was another arrest in the United States that actually happened in United States the last couple of weeks, a man that Germans were tracking an Afghan German-born man who lived in Hamburg. Keep in mind Hamburg was the center point where the Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the September 11th hijacking attacks on the United States -- he was based there for years, along with two of the other hijackers. That man, Afghan-born, German man, he was arrested in the United States after he traveled to the U.S. in mid July. He is being held in Alexandria, Virginia.

Again, the Germans are checking into his past, and they say that he could have ties to a terrorist organization, although German federal prosecutors won't go any further than that at this point -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So are we talking about two different cases, three individuals, or are we talking about these two arrests were two different scenarios. I am sorry, Chris. I guess I'm a little confused.

BURNS: Well, the last word we have at this point that's been confirmed by German authorities is that there is one Turkish man who was arrested in the Heidelberg area yesterday with large amount of explosives. The other man was arrested in the United States after he was living in Hamburg and traveled there in mid July. He has -- according to German authorities, they believe he has links to a terrorist organization.

This comes in the context of other investigations going on inside Germany, and even a trial here in Frankfurt for a group of Algerian militants believed to want to have plotted a bombing -- wanted to blow up a Christmas market in Strassburg (ph), France over the border a couple of years ago. So there are other investigations going on here.

Germans also have charged a Moroccan man who lived along with the hijackers in Hamburg. They have charged Jonier Almatasadak (ph) with charges. German authorities say that he had links to the September 11th hijackers. So a lot of investigations going on here. German authorities very much on the track, seeing if there are other links to possible militants here in Germany. So it's very much alive over here -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: OK, Chris Burns, thanks so much.

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