One of the three men held in Germany on Friday on suspicion of planning a bomb attack had received orders from al-Qaeda, prosecutors have said.
A senior al-Qaeda figure on the Afghan-Pakistan border reportedly gave the order but the target had still not been chosen.
The three suspects were arrested in the cities of Duesseldorf and Bochum after allegedly buying bomb-making chemicals.
They had reportedly been under surveillance for several months.
The group’s 29-year-old suspected ring-leader, Moroccan national Abdeladim K, was charged in a federal court in Karlsruhe on Saturday with membership of a foreign terrorist organisation.
It was not immediately clear what charges the other two suspects, Jamil S, a 31-year-old German-Moroccan, and Amid C, a 19-year-old German-Iranian, would face, if any.
Islamists in Germany have been associated with several attacks:
- In March, an ethnic Kosovo Albanian shot dead two US airmen on a bus at Frankfurt airport, injuring two others before his gun jammed; he told police he had wanted to avenge Afghans killed by Americans, but he was not thought to be part of a militant group
- In 2006, home-made bombs were placed on trains in Cologne but failed to explode; a Lebanese man was jailed for life for the attack
- The 9/11 ring-leader, Mohammed Atta, worshipped in a mosque in the northern city of Hamburg
‘Trained in Waziristan’
Abdeladim K had been in regular contact with a senior al-Qaeda member based on the Afghan-Pakistan border, deputy federal prosecutor Rainer Griesbaum told reporters in Karlsruhe.