Germany: 3 extremists detained over suspected attack plot

German special police members walk during a raid on a piece of property in Berlin, Germany, September 22, 2015. (Photo by Reuters)
Updated 12 November 2019

Germany: 3 extremists detained over suspected attack plot

BERLIN: Authorities in Germany detained three alleged supporters of the Daesh group Tuesday on suspicion of preparing a deadly attack against non-Muslims.
Frankfurt prosecutors said some 170 police officers searched three apartments in the nearby city of Offenbach and detained the men, who were already known to authorities.
“The intervention occurred in time to prevent a concrete threat,” chief prosecutor Nadja Niesen told reporters in Frankfurt. She said that the suspects appeared to have planned an attack in the Rhine-Main region with the intention of killing “as many people, so-called unbelievers, as possible,” but it wasn’t yet known whether they had chosen a specific target.
Niesen said the main suspect, a 24-year-old German citizen with Macedonian roots, had already acquired materials needed to make explosives and searched for firearms online. Police seized various substances and electronic devices at the man’s apartment.
The other two suspects are Turkish citizens aged 21 and 22.
All three suspects are alleged to have spoken of their support for the Daesh group in the presence of witnesses, who informed authorities, Niesen said.


US considers leaving smaller number of troops in Afghanistan

Updated 10 min 19 sec ago

US considers leaving smaller number of troops in Afghanistan

  • Pentagon is considering several options to reduce the number of troops
  • US currently has about 13,000 troops in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon is considering several options to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan, including one that would shift to a narrower counterterrorism mission, the top US military officer told Congress on Wednesday.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not disclose any potential troop totals, but he agreed that leaving a minimal US footprint in Afghanistan to battle terrorists is a potential move.
“We have multiple options, that’s one of them,” he said. The US currently has about 13,000 troops in Afghanistan. About 5,000 of them are doing counterterrorism missions. The remainder are part of a broader NATO mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces.
Members of the House Armed Services Committee pressed Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper on a number of issues during the hearing, including lawmakers’ demands for a hearing on whether the Pentagon deceived the American people about military progress during the 18-year war.
Earlier this week, a Washington Post report disclosed thousands of pages of documents revealing that government officials for years misled the public about failures in the Afghanistan war.
“The bottom line is that top military officials and civilian officials had known that the Afghanistan war has been unwinnable and have been misleading the American public for 20 years,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif. He said the committee should hold hearings on the matter.
Rep. Adam Smith, D-Washington, the committee chairman, said hearings would be appropriate. ``I do think it’s something that we should take a look at, ” he said.
Esper, who testified alongside Milley, told the committee that the US military must remain focused on the counterterrorism mission even as efforts are made to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban.
“We have an important counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan,” he said. “That means we’ve got to make sure Afghanistan never becomes again a safe haven for terrorists that can strike the United States.”
He said commanders have told him and Milley that the US can reduce its presence in Afghanistan and still perform the counterterrorism mission.
“I’m interested in reducing our force presence,” Esper said, so that some portion of the troops now based in Afghanistan can be reallocated to other parts of the world to bolster US preparedness for potential conflict with China or Russia. Esper has said he is reviewing US military missions worldwide to determine how many can be reallocated in that manner.
The top US commander for Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, was to brief members of Congress on the progress in the war during a closed session later Wednesday.