HAMBURG, Germany, Aug 9 (Reuters) - German police shut down a mosque in Hamburg on Monday which was once connected to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, saying it had links with armed Islamist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Taiba Mosque in the port city was previously known as the Al-Quds Mosque and was once frequented by Mohammed Atta, the leader of the group that carried out the attack on the World Trade Center in New York for al Qaeda.
Despite the name change, the mosque in Hamburg’s St. Georg district remained under close watch by security services since the 9/11 attacks.
“We believe that the mosque has been supporting terrorism for years,” Manfred Murck from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, a German domestic intelligence service, told a news conference held by Hamburg state authorities.
About 20 police cordoned off the mosque early on Monday and searched the premises, said the interior minister for Hamburg, Christoph Ahlhaus, adding that the cultural association behind the mosque had been declared a banned organisation.
The mosque was a meeting point for the “jihadist scene” which had in the past sent recruits to take part in the armed Islamist insurgency in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Ahlhaus said.
There was no mention of any arrests being made.
Egyptian-born Atta, who was on board the first of the two planes to hit the World Trade Center, studied at a technical university in Hamburg in the 1990s and frequented the Al-Quds mosque, along with other 9/11 plotters. (Reporting by Jan Schwartz; writing by Stephen Brown; Editing by Charles Dick)