U.S. drone kills German nationals

by Derrick Johnson on October 5, 2010

A U.S. drone has killed at least five German nationals of Afghan and Pakistani origin on Monday near the Afghan-Pakistan border, reports The Guardian. The attack comes following a terror alert issued by U.S. and European governments which have targeted the border due to its notoriety as a militant hub.

The missiles were fired at a tribal leader's home in North Waziristan, and killed eight people including the five Germans and wounded several others. Officials were unable to identify the bodies as Taliban militants sealed off the area and removed the attacks’ remains.

Last week U.S. and European governments issued a travel alert for major European cities following intelligence reports of a possible planned attack by al-Qaeda. In response, the Obama administration authorized a dramatic increase in drone attacks on North Waziristan.

German authorities recently reported the disappearance of numerous Islamist militants from their Hamburg homes in 2009, including Ahmed Sidiqi, who was captured by the U.S. and reportedly supplied information concerning the possible al-Qaeda plot to attack certain cities in Europe. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution revealed in June the existence of 29 Islamist organizations in Germany with increased member numbers than in 2009, according to Dawn.com.

However, the number of foreign militants in Waziristan still appears relatively low. "There are Turks, Germans and Americans in the FATA [tribal belt]. But it's not as if an army of foreigners is being trained there," a senior official with Inter-Services Intelligence agency, told the Guardian.

Nonetheless, some German officials have been wary of Islamists within the country. Over the summer police shut down a mosque in Hamburg, believed to be a meeting place for 9/11 hijackers, following reports the mosque was being used again for a terrorist plot. "We have closed the mosque because it was a recruiting and meeting point for Islamic radicals who wanted to participate in so-called jihad or holy war," Frank Reschreiter, a spokesman for Hamburg's state interior ministry, told the BBC.

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