Nine years after the 9/11 attacks, the latest Al Qaeda European terror plot goes back to the 9/11 hijackers’ path.
According to a key witness arrested in Afghanistan in July, Ahmed Sidiqi, the plot coordinated by Al Qaeda involved several European citizens in a « Mumbai style » attack on various European targets, including the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and the Alexanderplatz television tower in Berlin, among others.
Sidiqi, a German of Afghan descent, claims that the main recruiter for the plot was Naamen Meziche (aka Nouamane Meziche), a well-known figure of the European Islamist arena since the late 90s. Meziche, who settled in Germany in 1992, was identified in 2001 as a member of the “Hamburg cell” and a close friend of hijacker Mohamed Atta, and cell’s ringleader Ramzi Binalshibh.
Born on June 18, 1970 in Paris of Algerian descent, Meziche married the daughter of another well-known figure of jihadism, Mohamed Fizazi, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his involvement in the Casablanca bombings in 2003. Fizazi was the religious leader of Salafia Jihadia, the group behind the attacks. Fizazi also preached at the Al Quds mosque in Hamburg which was attended by the 9/11 hijackers.
Meziche came to the attention of European law enforcement in 2002 for his involvement with two Jihadist recruiting networks to fight in Iraq, uncovered in Spain and Italy. The Italian network was formed by a close associate of the then Al Qaida leader in Iraq, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. Meziche even traveled to Syria in 2003 to meet Al Qaeda members, according to Italian legal documents.
Meziche was arrested in 2006 in Algeria and freed later that year as part of the Algerian policy of national reconciliation.
Most of the would-be terrorists for the latest European plot were recruited in 2008 and 2009 by Meziche at the Taiba mosque (formerly the Al Quds mosque) in Hamburg, before training in the Afghan-Pakistani region.
Sidiqi also indicated that the plot was entirely financed by Al Qaeda and coordinated by an Al Qaeda leader, Younis Al Mauritani.