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06FRANKFURT7924 2006-11-21 14:36:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Consulate Frankfurt
Cable title:  

ALLEGED FRANKFURT AIRPORT TERROR PLOT DISRUPTED

Tags:   PTER ASEC PGOV KISL JO KU IZ GM 
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1. (SBU) SUMMARY: German authorities temporarily detained six
suspected terrorists November 17 for alleged involvement in a
plot to blow up an aircraft, presumably from Frankfurt
International Airport. END SUMMARY.

The Alleged Plot


--------------------------





2. (SBU) According to a press release from the Federal
Prosecutor, the six suspects allegedly sought to bribe an
individual with access to secure areas and passenger
aircraft. The individual was prepared to load a package or
bag containing explosives onto a passenger aircraft in
exchange for payment. According to press reports, the
allegation involves Frankfurt Airport and Israeli airline El
Al. Negotiations between the suspected terrorists and the
individual reportedly stalled due to disagreement over the
amount of the payment. Authorities became aware of the plot
and intervened.



3. (SBU) El Al has reported that they were surprised to learn
of the plot and that they were not involved in uncovering it.
Some police officials publicly expressed doubt that the
suspects would target El Al as one of the world's most secure
airlines. Press reports quoted a Lufthansa spokesperson
saying Lufthansa was not involved. Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) representatives in Frankfurt have
reached out to airport and government contacts, but have
obtained no additional information as of yet.

Terrorist Suspects


--------------------------





4. (C) German authorities have not released the names of the
six suspects. The Federal Prosecutor reported that German
law enforcement officials searched nine apartments in the
southwestern German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse
on Friday November 17, and that they hoped to gain insight
into the alleged terror group's organization and background
through the confiscated materials obtained during searches.
The Federal Prosecutor said others are believed to be
involved. According to press reports the suspects were from
Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, and Lebanon and some may be
Palestinian. German officials released five of the suspects
on November 18 after questioning -- the remaining suspect was
held on unrelated charges (reportedly rape). Hesse state
police (LKA) and interior ministry officials confirmed the
Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) is leading the
investigation and that they had no further information on the
case.

Senior Fraport Official Casts Doubt


--------------------------





5. (C - NF) Volker Zintel (PROTECT), a board member and the
senior security official at Frankfurt Airport, told us that
the individual suspected of involvement is an airport
employee working in the baggage area of the airport.
According to Zintel, the employee had been suspected of
involvement in small-scale drug trafficking (fewer than ten
grams of marijuana) and therefore German authorities were
monitoring his phones. This monitoring lead to authorities
uncovering his conversations with the suspected terrorists
regarding the plot to place a bomb on an aircraft, prompting
the searches and questioning. Zintel commented that the
monitored conversations reveal a naive discussion rather than
a sophisticated terror plot by Islamic radicals. According
to Zintel, none of the suspects have links to known Muslim
groups, and the evidence indicates that nothing came of the
plot.



6. (C) The Federal Ministry of the Interior cautioned Emboffs
there was little that could be revealed due to the ongoing
investigation. Legat has contacted BKA, which reported there
was no nexus to the U.S. Legat is to report additional law
enforcement sensitive information November 21 via IIR.



7. (U) This message was coordinated with Embassy Berlin.
POWELL