(AFP) – Sep 7, 2007
LOS ANGELES (AFP) — A US intelligence intercept of suspicious communications between Pakistan and Germany was the initial breakthrough that helped authorities foil a terror plot this week, it was reported.
The Los Angeles Times, citing unidentified officials, reported Friday that communications referring to "apparent terrorist activity" were first detected by US intelligence last year before the lead was passed to German officials.
"The US counter-terrorism community supported efforts to draw links, to do intercepts and to monitor communications between Pakistan and Germany," a US counter-terrorism official told the Times.
The official said the initial intercept was "a key factor" that "helped build the case." "It led to a very long period of surveillance, and the arrests," the official added.
The intercepts continued after the suspects were placed under surveillance, the report said.
A further communication between the cell in Germany and militant handlers in Pakistan, who urged the suspects to accelerate the timetable for the plot, was also intercepted, the report added, citing German officials.
Germany's federal prosecutor announced on Wednesday that authorities had smashed a plot to bomb airports and other targets frequented by Americans such as bars and nightclubs.
Three men arrested -- two German converts to Islam and a Turk -- had attended training camps in Pakistan and were stockpiling chemicals to make car bombs, prosecutors said.
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