Three suspected Al-Qaeda members were working on making a shrapnel-laden bomb in Germany to attack a crowded area such as a bus or a bus stop when they were arrested, officials said on Saturday. The the trio, under surveillance for months, hadn't picked a specific target, but were experimenting with explosives and detonators.

The suspects include a Moroccan, a German with Moroccan citizenship, and a German with Iranian citizenship.

The attack was “still in the experimentation stage,” anti-terrorism prosecutor Rainer Griesbaum told a news conference.

Officials decided to arrest the three in the western cities of Duesseldorf and Bochum after tips picked up through surveillance indicated they might be getting close to being able to carry out an attack.

One member of the cell was overheard saying he wanted to “do a bus”. The trio had been researching how to build a bomb packed with metal objects that they could set off in a crowded area, officials said.

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