Hamburg authorities on Monday closed the Taiba mosque, which had been the place of worship for the terrorist cell responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. The city said the mosque had been closed in response to a ban that had been applied to the Arab cultural association which ran it, called the Arab-German Cultural Association.
The city said it would provide further details at a press conference to take place later in the day, but news agency Agence France Presse is reporting that the organization had been accused of recruiting jihadists in Germany.
Twenty police and several undercover investigators marched up to the building early on Monday morning and removed the locks using a drill. "The investigators are searching the mosque for further evidence and are seizing computers and other equipment," a spokesperson said.
Formerly known as the Al-Quds mosque, Taiba was the meeting place of several of the perpetrators on the 9/11 terror attacks. Officials at Hamburg's Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the state intelligence agency, say that the Taiba mosque continues to be the main pole of attraction for the local jihadist scene, with around 45 members.
Investigators believe that the mosque was the base used in the past year by a group of 10 Hamburg-base jihadists who traveled to Pakistan or Afghanistan, purportedly to participate in military training camps. They claim that at least one of those men later became a part of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) terrorist group in Pakistan.
dsl -- with wires
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