Image: Terror suspect is seen being led away
Michael Probst  /  AP file
One of three terror suspects accused of plotting bombings against U.S. targets in Germany is led away after a court hearing in Karlsruhe, southern Germany, in this Sept. 5, 2007, photo.
updated 9/2/2008 11:46:55 AM ET 2008-09-02T15:46:55

Three men were charged Tuesday in connection with a foiled 2007 terrorist plot to attack U.S. and German targets in central Germany, the federal prosecutor's office said.

Fritz Martin Gelowicz, 29, Daniel Martin Schneider, 22, and Adem Yilmaz, 29, were each charged with membership in a terrorist organization, said Frank Wallenta, a spokesman for federal prosecutors in Karlsruhe. If convicted, they face a possible 10 years in prison.

He said he could give no further information.

The suspects are accused of being members of the radical Islamic Jihad Union, an offshoot of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a jihadist group with origins in Central Asia.

Explosives stockpile seized
According to the U.S. State Department, the Islamic Jihad Union was responsible for coordinated bombings outside the U.S. and Israeli embassies in July 2004 in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent. Members have been trained in explosives by al-Qaida instructors and the group has ties to Osama bin Laden and fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar, the State Department says.

The German cell had stockpiled 1,600 pounds of highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide at a rented cottage in central Germany in preparation for their plot — enough to build bombs more powerful than those that killed 191 commuters in Madrid in 2004 and 52 in London in 2005, authorities have said.

Officials said they could have mixed the peroxide, purchased from a chemical supplier, with other substances to make explosives equivalent to 1,200 pounds of dynamite.

American tip-off
Unbeknownst to them, however, German authorities — acting partially on intelligence from the U.S. — had been watching them and had covertly replaced the hydrogen peroxide with a substitute that could not have been used to produce a bomb.

Gelowicz and Schneider are German citizens. Yilmaz is a Turkish citizen who lived in Germany. Authorities say they had all undergone training at camps in Pakistan run by the Islamic Jihad Union, and had formed a German cell of the al-Qaida-influenced group.

They came to the attention of law enforcement officials when one or more of them carried out surveillance of U.S. military facilities in Hanau, near Frankfurt, in late 2006. Over the next six months, authorities observed them gathering a dozen containers of hydrogen peroxide solution. Police decided to move on them when the group started relocating containers.

The three suspects have all been in custody since police arrested them Sept. 4, 2007.

No trial date has been set.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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