Thursday 30 March 2017

German police detain Syrian man wanted for alleged bomb plot

Police walk near an apartment building in the Yorck area of Chemnitz, eastern Germany. Photo: PA
Police walk near an apartment building in the Yorck area of Chemnitz, eastern Germany. Photo: PA

German police have detained a 22-year-old Syrian man suspected of preparing a bomb attack, following a nationwide hunt.

Police in the eastern state of Saxony tweeted on Monday that Jaber Albakr was detained overnight in Leipzig.

Albakr, from the Damascus area of Syria, escaped the authorities on Saturday during a raid of his apartment in nearby Chemnitz. Investigators said they found "several hundred grams" of a volatile explosive hidden there.

The raid came after Saxony police were given a tip from Germany's domestic intelligence service that Albakr may be planning an attack.

German media has reported that Albakr is believed to be connected to Islamic extremist groups.

On Saturday morning, as police prepared to raid the apartment building, Albakr was observed leaving the premises. Police fired a warning shot but were unable to stop him.

A policewoman closes the damaged door of an apartment building in the Yorck area of Chemnitz, eastern Germany, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. Photo: PA
A policewoman closes the damaged door of an apartment building in the Yorck area of Chemnitz, eastern Germany, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. Photo: PA

Experts are trying to determine whether the explosives they found in the apartment were the same ones used in the deadly November 13 attacks in Paris and the March 22 attacks in Brussels. The explosives used in those attacks are known as TATP, or triacetone triperoxide.

TATP has been used in many attacks over the years and is favoured by violent extremists because it is fairly easy to make and detonate.

The explosives were destroyed on Saturday in a controlled detonation by bomb squad experts in a pit dug outside the five-storey building because they were considered too dangerous to transport.

Saxony police have not commented on Albakr's possible motive or the bomb plot's target.

Germany has been on edge since two attacks this summer claimed by the Islamic State group in which multiple people were injured and both assailants died. Two other attacks unrelated to Islamic extremism, including a deadly mall shooting in Munich, have also contributed to fears.

During the manhunt police had increased security around the country, particularly around "critical infrastructure" like train stations and airports.

The authorities said Albakr had come to Germany in the flood of 890,000 migrants who entered the country in 2015 and had been granted asylum.

Press Association

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