Danish court jails 2 terror suspects, says more evidence needed against 5 others

Wednesday, September 6th 2006, 8:34 am
By: News On 6

ODENSE, Denmark (AP) _ A Danish court jailed two men Wednesday on preliminary terror charges, but said five others must be released within days unless investigators submit stronger evidence against them.

Police arrested the suspects in pre-dawn raids Tuesday, saying they were preparing explosives for a terror attack. The sweep sent jitters through a nation that has heightened its terror preparedness because of its troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Muslim rage triggered by caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad earlier this year.

In a late-night hearing, the court in Odense, Denmark's third largest city, ordered two of the suspects held for four weeks as the investigation continues.

But the court questioned the case presented against the other five, and gave prosecutors three days to come up with more evidence or release them.

During the raids in an immigrant neighborhood of Odense, police reportedly seized chemicals, computers, telephones and CD-ROMs.

``Our chemical experts are now investigating which chemical substances we're are talking about,'' Troels Oerting Joergensen, a senior member of the Danish intelligence agency, was quoted as saying by the 24 Timer newspaper Wednesday.

Nine people were arrested in the sweep, but two were later released. The suspects were not identified, but officials described them as Danish citizens, ages 18-33, all but one with immigrant backgrounds.

Authorities said the men had acquired materials to build explosives for a planned terror attack, most likely in Denmark.

The raids came just days before the five-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and followed a thwarted plot to bring down U.S.-bound airliners in Britain and botched train bombings in Germany.

The reason for the alleged Danish plot was not immediately clear. Danes have feared the country could become a terror target because of the prophet cartoons, which triggered violent protests in Muslim countries earlier this year. Many Muslims considered the cartoons, first published in a Danish newspaper, a violation of traditions prohibiting images of their prophet.

Abu Bashar, an imam in Odense, said that Denmark was under the threat of Islamic terrorism because of its troop deployment in Iraq.

Denmark has about 500 troops in southern Iraq under British command and 360 more in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led force.