updated 1/23/2005 7:09:07 PM ET 2005-01-24T00:09:07

German police on Sunday arrested two suspected al-Qaida members believed to be planning a suicide attack in Iraq, federal prosecutors said. One of the men also allegedly tried to obtain uranium.

Police arrested Ibrahim Mohamed K., a 29-year-old Iraqi living in Mainz, on suspicion of recruiting suicide attackers in Germany and providing logistical help to the terrorist organization. He also is believed to have tried to obtain uranium in Luxembourg.

The other suspect, 31-year-old Palestinian Yasser Abu S., planned to carry out a suicide attack, chief federal prosecutor Kay Nehm told reporters in the western German city of Karlsruhe.

Contact with high-ranking leaders
The Iraqi suspect trained multiple times in camps in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States and then spent a year in Afghanistan fighting American forces after the attacks, prosecutors said.

During this time he had contact with high-ranking al-Qaida leaders, they said.

"This convinced him not to seek the original aspiration of martyrdom as a suicide attacker, but rather to recruit suicide attackers in Europe," prosecutors said in a statement.

He recruited the Palestinian suspect in September for a suicide attack in Iraq, and purchased more than $1 million in life insurance for him, with the aim of faking the man's death in a car accident in Egypt, prosecutors said. The majority of the insurance payoff was to fund al-Qaida activities, they said.

Four homes searched
Prosecutors said they could provide no more details on the men's effort to get uranium, and declined to release the suspects' surnames according to usual German criminal procedures.

Authorities searched four homes in Mainz and Bonn as part of the raid, authorities said.

Germany has cracked down on suspected terrorist and extremist activity since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States, which were planned in part by a terrorist cell in Hamburg.

On Jan. 12, police took 22 suspects into custody during nationwide raids on a network of Muslim extremists that turned up militant Islamic propaganda and forged passports. In December, police arrested three suspected members of the Ansar al-Islam terror group who allegedly planned to attack Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi during a visit to Berlin.

In October, authorities arrested Syrian-German businessman and suspected key al-Qaida financier Mamoun Darkazanli on a European warrant. Spanish authorities accuse him of providing al-Qaida with logistical help, and the United States labeled his Hamburg-based trading company a front for terrorism.

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