A Kosovo Albanian man confessed Wednesday to killing two U.S. airmen at the Frankfurt airport, saying in emotional testimony at the opening of his trial that he had been influenced by radical Islamic propaganda online.
Arid Uka, 21, is charged with two counts of murder for the March 2 slaying of Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden, 25, from South Carolina, and Airman 1st Class Zachary R. Cuddeback, 21, from Virginia. He also faces three counts of attempted murder in connection with the wounding of two others.
Although Germany has experienced scores of terrorist attacks in past decades, largely from leftist groups like the Red Army Faction, the airport attack was the first attributed to an Islamic extremist.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, there have been about a half-dozen other jihadist plots that were either thwarted or failed - including a 2007 plan to kill Americans at the U.S. Air Force's Ramstein Air Base.
Uka went to the airport with the intent "to kill an indeterminate number of American soldiers, but if possible a large number," prosecutor Herbert Deimer told a state court in Frankfurt.