Wed, Sep 05, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Danish police claim terror attack averted by raids and arrests


Denmark's intelligence service arrested eight Islamic militants linked to leading al-Qaeda figures in anti-terror raids in the Danish capital, the head of the agency said yesterday.

The men, between ages 19 and 29, were suspected of preparing a terror act involving explosives, said Jakob Scharf, the head of the PET intelligence service.

"With the arrests we have prevented a terror attack," Scharf told a news conference.

He did not say what the target of the planned attack was.

Those arrested were six Danish citizens and two foreign nationals with Danish residence permits, he said. The suspects had been under surveillance for a longer period and were arrested after police gathered enough evidence against them, he said.

"They also have been producing an unstable explosive in a densely populated area," he said.

Scharf said Danish investigators had worked with "several foreign cooperation partners" in the probe.

"Those arrested are militant Islamists with connections to leading al-Qaeda persons," Scharf said, but did not name those people. "According to our assessment, there is a direct connection to al-Qaeda."

The suspects -- of Afghan, Pakistani, Somali and Turkish origin -- were arrested without incident in separate raids at 2am, Scharf said, declining to say whether more people were sought in the investigation.

Eleven locations were raided in and around Copenhagen. The TV2 News channel reported a 19-year-old electrician was arrested in Ishoej, while a taxi driver in his 20s was arrested in Noerrebro.

Sadiq al-Fatlawi, who said he lives on the floor above the cab driver told TV2 News that police ordered him and other neighbors to leave the building during the raid because it was dangerous to remain inside. They were let back in four hours later.

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