Reports of "Near Terror Disaster on German Trains,"

described here.

UPDATE: Bloomberg has more; thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer:

Two suitcases containing bottles of gasoline, propane gas and a detonating device that were found abandoned in German regional trains last month were bombs primed to go off and kill a "high number" of people, police said....

The perpetrators are suspected of being members of a "domestic terrorist organization," [Federal Prosecutor Rainer] Griesbaum said....

Investigators found pieces of paper with Arabic letters and telephone numbers from Lebanon in clothes which were in the suitcases to pad the gas bottles, he said. They also found starch bags from Lebanon which were sold in a store in or around Essen, a city in North-Rhine Westphalia....

Dick King:
It does seem a little odd that they left a snack food wrapper in the suitcases.

8.18.2006 2:39pm
Gabriel Malor (mail):
What, you've never put a wrapper into your pocket before?
8.18.2006 2:40pm
Germany out of Iraq now! -- Oh wait a minute
8.18.2006 3:08pm
Dick King:
I've never gone to terrorist school, but I'm sure they tell their terrorists to remove clues from the bombs before they plant them, before they give them their non-suicide license.

8.18.2006 3:09pm
Gabriel Malor (mail):
DK, never assume a massive and unsubstantiated conspiracy when stupidity will do.
8.18.2006 3:22pm
There isn't anything about a snack-food wrapper in the original German ( The investigators describe a "Beutel Speisestaerke" (a bag of cornstarch) as a "much more promising clue". They have traced the cornstarch to a spice merchant who delivers mainly to Lebanese families in Essen.

(Eine weitere viel versprechende Spur sehen die Fahnder in einem Beutel Speisestärke, der in einem der Bombenkoffer gefunden wurde. Der Gewürzgroßhändler, der diese Art von Pulver verkauft, sei ermittelt worden, er liefere vor allem an libanesische Familien im Raum Essen aus.)

I'm more bewildered by the ZDF headline that is linked to in the Medienkritik blog. "Investigators suspect terrorist background." Suspect terrorism? What else are you going to do with two large, fully armed bombs in train stations?
8.18.2006 4:01pm
Dan Hamilton:
You know these were not terrorists with bombs! You are profiling again. These were two Middle Eastern men who were taking some fuel and propane home so that they could do their cooking. It is clear that they couldn't have been doing anything else.

All you people are just bigots for assuming that these were terrorists. They're just poor muslims who have to use fuel and propane to cook their food.

You mean people.
8.18.2006 4:31pm

That explains the cornstarch.
8.18.2006 4:32pm
Heinrich (mail):
Ve opposed ze var in Iraq. Ve sold nuclear technology to ze Iranians. Ve killed six million Jews. Vat more do you people vant from us?
8.18.2006 4:43pm
Richard Gould-Saltman (mail):
OK, I give up; other than as a nationality "taggant" for one's terrorist devices, (or to put the blame on someone else; hmmmm......) why would anyone buy IMPORTED cornstarch (in bag-sized quantities, no less; mine comes in a 1 pound box)in nationality-identifiable bags? Or were only the starch BAGS from Lebanon, perhaps noted for its manufacture of fine starch bags? I need some DETAILS here...

8.18.2006 5:22pm
SenatorX (mail):
"The suitcases were identical black cases with a gas canister, alarm clock, wires, batteries and soft drink bottles filled with flammable liquid"

Sounds like quite a dinner those "poor muslims" left behind.
8.18.2006 6:00pm
Forest Girl:

What else are you going to do with two large, fully armed bombs in train stations?

Coulda been a bomb collector. After all, there are people who collect refrigerators....

Being serious, though, all those clues look a little obvious even allowing for a thunderingly incompetent terrorist.
8.18.2006 6:33pm
Marcy (mail) (www):
I would have to agree with 'PersonFromPorlock' and 'SenatorX'. If all the facts are indeed accurate, there is very little doubt they were 'cooking up' trouble. I think the term terrorist is like the term rapist. Someone with the intent to rape is still a rapist, even though they may not have comlpeted the act. Same goes for a terroist. Just my 3 cents.
8.18.2006 7:22pm
Third Party Beneficiary (mail):
"I think the term terrorist is like the term rapist. Someone with the intent to rape is still a rapist, even though they may not have comlpeted the act."

Fascinating philosophically, fatally defective legally.
8.18.2006 7:37pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I get the impression that western appeasers haven't yet conceived of how hugely huge the necessary appeasement is supposed to be.
The Germans haven't begun to begin the necessary appeasement.
Not even close.
8.18.2006 8:12pm
douglas (mail):
From the Article:

"The terror threat in Germany isn't considered to be as high as in the U.K. or U.S. because the country didn't take part in the U.S.-led war in Iraq, the government has said."

They just don't get it, do they...
8.19.2006 3:55am
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
BTW, I'm guessing, without knowledge of German journalistic or government idioms, that "We suspect that there's a terrorist background" probably means, more intelligibly in English, something like "We have some reason to thhink that this is connected with people who have plotted, or done, other terrorist stuff, as opposed to, say, an unconnected solo nut-case who suddenly decided to take his starch-bag, propane can and bottle of gasoline and build these things in his apartment..."
8.19.2006 12:19pm
markm (mail):
Is there something special about Lebanese starch such that Lebanese families living in another country would seek starch imported from their homeland over generic starch? Is there some German idiom we're unaware of such that in this context "starch" is not simply starch, but is something else, say, fried balls of a starchy material as a snack food? Or is Lebanon simply a major processor of starch for export to Germany and other countries?

If it's really just starch, I think I vaguely remember some home-made explosives recipe that uses starch, but the description of the suitcase bombs doesn't seem to include any solid explosive compounds.

Unless we're missing a lot of critical information, the "plant" idea seems pretty likely.
8.19.2006 5:06pm

Go into the local Chinese food store. You will find chinese versions of products that can be found anywhere in any grocery store, only chines branded. If I go into what in NC is the hispanic aisle of the grocery store, I wil find a lot of extiic stuffs along with several generic items with a hispanic brand.

Of all the facts listed here, that is the least exceptional.
8.19.2006 6:01pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Richard, I agree they don't understand the magnitude of the appeasement they will be required to make, but when Der Tag comes, they'll come up to scratch, I'm sure.
8.19.2006 10:01pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Also, the bomber didn't bother to check the pockets of his clothes for incriminating bits, because he expected them to be burned up. Duh.
8.20.2006 3:50pm