Early the following morning the Viper woke up from a troubled sleep in his bunk bed. The glimmer of light filtering through the barred window high on the wall of his cell confirmed it was daytime although he had no idea of the time, as they had taken his watch, belt and shoelaces. He clasped his head in his hands in despair over his capture and the wasted hours of training for the mission in Syria, making him feel guilty and humiliated at his failure. He realised that the opportunity was gone of avenging the deaths of his family and he cursed the dog who must have informed on them. His throat became dry and he tore the blanket covering him off. Feeling claustrophobic in the stifling confines of the small cell, he compared it in dismay with the freedom of the desert and the panoramic views from the mountains he had so recently enjoyed. Sickened by his incarceration and already missing the simple and friendly life in the scattered villages of Afghanistan and Syria, he pondered his fate.
The Viper heard a key turn in the door’s lock and it opened. A guard stood outside with two others holding guns and motioned him to come out. They clicked a pair of handcuffs around his wrists and led him to the small interview room, where the interrogation had taken place on his arrival the day before. One of the guards pushed him roughly into a chair and the Viper looked across the table at the scowling face of the man sitting opposite.
‘I trust you had a good night’s sleep.’ snarled the German.
‘It would have helped if the light had been off.’ retorted the Viper.
‘We needed to see that you would do nothing stupid.’ came the reply.
The Viper looked up as the door opened and Joachim Wieck, the senior BND intelligence officer from Berlin, masterminding Operation Seelöwe, entered the room, and stood listening to the questioning. Wieck studied the young terrorist, weighing him up with an experienced eye, pleased the intelligence received from the undercover agent in Syria had been correct about the two suicide bombers arriving in Germany. Details of their assignment in London were sparse, however, although now insignificant because of their arrest. Wieck realised he must do his upmost to persuade them both to take part in his operation and made his move.
‘Good morning, Muhammad. We mean you no harm but you should understand that we know all about you and your friend Kazim Khan.’
The Viper looked up at the intelligence officer towering above him and then back at the interrogator opposite, who had given him such a rough time the day before.
‘What do you mean?’ he replied, his eyes darkening with hate.
‘I am not hear to interrogate or torture you.’
The Viper tensed, it must be a trick, he thought to himself.
Someone knocked on the door and Wieck walked over to open it. An officer entered the room with a tray of hot, steaming food on a plate and a kettle with cups and saucers on it. He placed it on the table in front of the Viper.
Wieck, aware that Aziz and Khan were both true and loyal soldiers of Allah, would use this knowledge and his skill of persuasion to educate these ragheads and turn them. He would twist and manipulate them until they were under his control.
‘Come, my friend. Eat. It is the finest chicken biryani for you. You must realise we are not your enemy and you are not ours.’
Wieck pulled up a chair and sat down. Reaching for the teapot, he poured the sweet tea into two cups.
The Viper looked up in confusion at the intelligence officer as he beckoned him to start his meal, and began eating hungrily as Wieck sat down at the table.
‘While you are enjoying your meal, allow me to give you a short history lesson.’ he said, pouring himself a cup of tea as the Viper continued eating.
‘For many years before the great world wars, our German government developed and maintained a strong association with your Arab nationalist leaders, based on our similar anti-Zionist interests. Our great Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, forged strong links with your Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, giving him every assistance when he led the long Arab revolt in Palestine before the Second World War’
The Viper began to listen to the German’s words, wondering where this was going.
‘My friend, both here in Germany and in your own Arab countries, we have the same common enemy. The Jews! They are entrenched in our homeland again and expanding that growing thorn in your side, Israel! Germany declared itself judenfrei in 1943 and with your help, we intend to do it again.’ stated Wieck, slamming his fist on the table top in emphasis.
The Viper stopped eating and gave Wieck a penetrating look. Was he being tricked?
‘What are you talking about?’ he asked.
Wieck smiled, ready to nurture the spark of interest he had created in the young terrorist’s mind. He had to be very careful, as the success of the operation would depend on the two Arabs.
‘We know some details of your operation in London, but let me outline another operation that we are undertaking and, with your help, we can achieve far greater results than you would ever have done.’
The Viper thought this man could not possible know the horrendous attack that had been planned, as only a very select few knew the real target. But he was prepared to consider anything this man said, to give him the opportunity to get out of the mess he found himself.
‘Why should I help you?’ he asked.
‘Because by joining us you would be attacking your worst enemy, the Great Satan, America and you would be obeying the preaching’s of your prophet Mohammed and serving Allah. If successful, you will become shahids and ascend to dwell in his paradise for all time. You, my friend, are just what we need.’
Muhammad’s scheming mind began to form the semblance of a plan, for if he went through the motions, if he could get to London, he might well get a chance to continue with his original mission.
‘And you will be rewarded by avenging the deaths of your family into the bargain.’ said Wieck.
The Viper, surprised that the German knew so much about him said, ‘What do you want us to do?’