guardian…The Taiba mosque in Hamburg, once frequented by some of the September 11 attackers, was searched by police and shut down today because German authorities believed it was again being used as a meeting point for Islamist radicals.
The Taiba mosque was closed and the cultural association that ran the mosque was banned, state officials said in a statement:. “We have closed the mosque because it was a recruiting and meeting point for Islamic radicals who wanted to participate in so-called jihad or holy war,” said Frank Reschreiter, a spokesman for Hamburg’s state interior ministry.
He said that said 20 police officers were searching the building and police had confiscated material, including several computers, but a spokesman was not aware of any arrests.
Officials have said the prayer house, formerly known as the al-Quds mosque, was a meeting and recruiting point years ago for some of the September 11 attackers before they moved to the United States.
The ringleader, Mohamed Atta, as well as Marwan Al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah, had studied in Hamburg and frequented the al-Quds mosque. Reschreiter said today marked the first time the mosque had been closed, and that it had been under observation by local intelligence officers for “quite a long time.”
A 2009 report by a German intelligence agency said the mosque had again become the “centre of attraction for the jihad scene” in the port city. It said some people who belonged to the mosque’s cultural association and prayed there had travelled to a radical training camp in Uzbekistan.
A group of 11 militants that traveled to military training camps in Uzbekistan in March 2009 was formed at Taiba mosque, the report said.
Most of the group’s members were either German converts, of Middle Eastern origin or from the Caucasus region.
“A very important factor for the radicalisation of the group members was certainly their joint visits to the mosque,” the intelligence report stated.
It appears that one man from the group joined the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a terrorist organisation in central Asia, the report said.