German authorities today are searching for about 10 supporters of an al-Qaida-linked Islamic group believed to have helped three men charged with plotting “imminent” attacks against Americans in Germany. The three militants arrested Wednesday—two Germans who recently converted to Islam, and one Turkish national—had military-style detonators and enough chemicals to make bombs more devastating than the ones that killed 191 people in Madrid in 2004 and 52 London commuters two years ago.
Authorities in Denmark said they thwarted another plot by arresting eight people around Copenhagen. Danish intelligence said the men were from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Turkey—although six were Danish citizens—and had ties to a senior al Qaida figure.
The foiling of two plots in 24 hours should serve as “a stark reminder of the threat looming over the West, America in particular,” said the New York Daily News in an editorial. Al Qaida was weakened after 9/11, but it “has regained strength in the lawless regions of Pakistan,” and “freelancers” have formed more radical cells. As the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, the U.S. remains the primary target of Islamic extremists. “Make no mistake: There are more of them, and they are coming.”
“The good news” is that the “wagers of jihad” in Germany and Denmark “were already under surveillance,” said National Review Online’s The Tank military blog. Both cells were “disrupted as they attempted to acquire and gather physical resources for planned attacks. The bad news is that the threat in, from, and to Europe continues to grow.”
“It is hard to see how the Iraq war—whether a failure or a success—would have any impact on this tiny cell's attempt at mass murder in the name of God,” said Andrew Sullivan on AndrewSullivan.com. “This is simply the religious violence we have to contend with for the indefinite future. All we can do is what the Germans did: keep up surveillance (with protections against abuse), and run as many to ground as we can.”