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Germany Nabs Terror Suspect

January 06, 2002|From Reuters

BERLIN — German authorities arrested a suspected member of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network in a late-night raid at a four-star hotel in Monchengladbach, police said early today.

The unarmed man, who had an Italian name, was charged with membership in an illegal organization, authorities said.

Federal authorities had tipped local police about three wanted men but only one was found during a large operation late Saturday, said Monchengladbach police spokesman Michael Gutze.

"We are still checking his identity. . . . By appearance he appears to be between 30 and 40 years old," Gutze said.

German authorities have conducted a massive investigation into possible links to the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States after it emerged that Mohamed Atta and other alleged hijackers had lived in the northern city of Hamburg.

Authorities are also investigating the detained man's travel plans and other details. Monchengladbach, with a population of 270,000, is near Dusseldorf in western Germany.

"He checked in alone today at 2 p.m.," Eddie Adam, night manager at the Dorint Hotel, said after midnight.

"Then we received a tip from the federal criminal authorities who came at around midnight.

"Police are still here checking rooms."

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