The German Federal Prosecutor’s Office has brought charges against 25-year-old Rami Makanesi: a German national suspected of having been chosen by al-Qaeda to develop a European support network for the terror organization. Makanesi — who continues to be identified by German authorities simply as “Rami M.” — has been in German custody since August 2010. He is known to have lived in the same apartment building in Frankfurt as the Frankfurt Airport shooter Arid Uka, and the two men are reported to have been friends.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, Makanesi travelled from Germany to Pakistan via Iran in March 2009, in order to receive military training at a camp run by the so-called Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. He is supposed subsequently to have joined an al-Qaeda camp in May 2009, receiving training there before “taking part in violent jihad.” The latter phrase is presumably an allusion to combat against coalition troops in Afghanistan.
A statement released by the Prosecutor’s Office continues:
At the start of June 2010, a high-ranking Al-Qaeda member took the initiative of releasing him from participation in any further combat missions. Henceforth, his task was to collaborate in Germany on a European network of the terrorist organization. The network was supposed to procure financial support for the organization, but also to be at the disposition of the Al-Qaeda leadership for other, not yet further specified, assignments.
In June 2010, before he could return to Germany, Makanesi was taken prisoner by Pakistani security forces. The latter reportedly discovered him disguised in a burqa. He was transferred to Germany on August 25 and arrested upon his arrival at Frankfurt Airport.
Makanesi is known to have lived for several years in the same apartment building in the Sossenheim neighborhood of Frankfurt as Arid Uka, the shooter who killed two American servicemen at Frankfurt Airport earlier this month. According to a report in the German daily Die Welt, Makanesi moved out of the building in July 2003, when Uka would have been thirteen-years-old. He continued to live in Frankfurt, however, in the nearby Bockenheim neighborhood.�
According to a related report in the Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung, Makanesi appears to have lived at the Sossenheim address intermittently for a longer time, perhaps up until shortly before his departure for Pakistan in March 2009. According to the Augsburger Allgemeine report, Makanesi lived alternately with each of his divorced parents at separate Frankfurt addresses. According to both reports, Makanesi and Uka were friends.
In summer 2008, Makanesi is supposed to have begun making regular trips to Hamburg or, according to some accounts, to have moved there. In Hamburg, he is reported to have frequented the notorious Al-Quds mosque. The mosque had also been frequented by Mohamed Atta and the other members of the Hamburg Cell who organized the 9/11 attacks. Its name was later changed to the Taibi mosque.
A neighbor of Arid Uka who was interviewed by Germany’s dapd wire service testified to the friendship between the two young men and said that Makanesi already “looked like” an Islamist during his Frankfurt days. Alluding to the Frankfurt Airport shooting, the neighbor added, “If it wasn’t for Rami, Arid would never have had the idea of doing such a thing.”
German authorities have insisted that Arid Uka was in all likelihood a “lone wolf” who acted spontaneously. As against this theory, Die Welt has noted not only that he was a friend of Rami Makanesi, but also that he purchased the murder weapon several months before the attack.
(photo: Rami M.; source: ARD German public television)