Monday, September 10, 2007

While Germany Struggles With Home Grown Jihadists, Israel Battles Israeli Neo-Nazis

By all accounts, Fritz Gelowicz and Daniel Schneider grew up as middle-class Germans. They had, by and large, sound family backgrounds and attended good schools. They even once played American football and basketball.

But somewhere along the line - Fritz and Daniel went off the usual track and became Islamist militants. Top photo above shows suspects being brought into custody in Germany.

Their alleged plan to launch massive bomb attacks on U.S. targets in Germany was foiled by police on Tuesday, September 4th, 2007. They were arrested along with a Turkish man raised in Germany, Adem Yilmaz, and police said they had enough material to make bombs with a force equal to 550 kilograms of TNT.

It‘s been hard for Germans to fathom why anyone raised in their prosperous country might choose to follow the path of Mohammed Atta, a radical Arab student who lived inconspicuously as a student in Hamburg before leading the 9/11 hijacked plane attacks on the United States in 2001.

Bild am Sonntag quoted a former coach as saying, "Daniel was a talented young basketball player, scoring an average of 25 points a game in the league in which he played."

Fritz Gelowicz, a quarterback on a team that played American football, is believed to have converted to Islam as a teenager and began calling himself Abdullah Gelowicz.

Daniel Schneider dropped out of high school a year before graduating because he did not want to be taught by women any more, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. He converted to Islam at the age of 19 in 2003.

Likewise, Gelowicz studied industrial engineering at the technical university in Neu-Ulm but also dropped out shortly before finishing in 2004. Newspapers merely note that he’d been a good student.

Adem Yilmaz, 28, was born in Turkey. He moved to Germany as a youth with his parents. He grew up in Langen, a town in Hessen, and after finishing school received state unemployment support. He had worked as a ticket inspector on local buses at one point.

"He was completely normal, a nice boy," said Horst Boenig, head of the KSV Langen sports club where Yilmaz worked out.

At the same time Israeli police Police, Sunday claimed they’d broken up a cell of young Israeli neo-Nazis accused of a string of brutal racist and anti-Semitic attacks, videos of which were played on television to a stunned national audience.

The eight suspects, all immigrants from the former Soviet Union in their late teens or early 20s, are seen in the videos kicking victims on the ground to a bloody pulp, hitting a man over the head with an empty beer bottle and proclaiming their allegiance to Adolf Hitler with a Nazi salute.

While Israel has experienced isolated incidents of anti-Semitism in the past, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the arrests were the first time an organized cell has been discovered.

The eight youths, who immigrated to Israel as children, were arrested over the past two months in connection with at least 15 attacks against religious Jews, foreign workers from Asia, drug addicts, the homeless and gays. A ninth member has fled the country, he said.

The group leader was identified as Eli Boanitov, 19, of Petah Tikva (pictured above) — known as "Eli the Nazi," police said. "I won't ever give up. I was a Nazi and I will stay a Nazi. Until we kill them all I will not rest," Boanitov was quoted as saying in a police statement.

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