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8 Islamic Suspects in Italy, Germany Are Questioned

July 04, 2002|From Associated Press

BERLIN — Eight people, including a man under investigation for links to several of the Sept. 11 hijackers, were questioned Wednesday after talking about sacrificing their lives for Islam, German authorities said.

Seven of the men were questioned, photographed and fingerprinted after early morning searches at their apartments and a bookstore in Hamburg, Germany. The men were later released, police spokeswoman Christiane Leven said. Another official said that despite five months of surveillance, the raids didn't turn up enough evidence to hold them.

An eighth suspect was being questioned in Italy after his home there was searched, said Hamburg police spokesman Reinhard Fallak.

Investigators suspect that the men were forming an Islamic fundamentalist group with the aim of carrying out attacks, the federal prosecutor's office said.

There is no indication that the group was involved with the Sept. 11 attacks, but one detainee, identified only as 29-year-old Abdelghani M., is also suspected of supporting the Sept. 11 Al Qaeda cell that was based in Hamburg, said Frauke Scheuten, a spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor.

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