On Friday, the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) arrested three suspected members of the Islamist terrorist network al-Qaeda in North Rhine-Westphalia. The three young men (with Moroccan and Iranian origins) have allegedly been involved in planning a major terrorist attack within Germany. Following several months of surveillance by the German BKA but also international intelligence services, it is now believed that the three young men were planning on testing their self-made explosives in the near future. Various German news media have drawn comparisons to the arrest of four Islamists (known as the Sauerland group) on suspicion of planning a bomb attack in Germany in 2007.
Following the arrest, Germany’s Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, while relieved that an imminent terrorist threat to Germany had been averted, argued that Germany remained a target for international terror networks.