Isil suspect in Germany caught with crossbow
A suspected jihadist is being held in Germany after buying a powerful crossbow capable of firing a bolt at almost 500ft a second.
A police search of his apartment found propaganda and terror manuals from Isil, as well as evidence he had been preparing to make explosives.
The incident has raised concerns that extremists may turn to crossbows as a potential terror weapon. They are freely available in some European countries.
The 21-year-old man, named only as Ivan K under German privacy laws, was already under police surveillance as an associate of Islamic preachers close to Anis Amri, the Berlin Christmas market attacker.
But prosecutors have admitted they are powerless to hold him over the crossbow, because it is classed as sports equipment. Instead, he is being detained over the material found in his apartment in the eastern city of Chemnitz.
Police acted after a surveillance team witnessed Ivan K buying a powerful high-performance crossbow in the town of Lippstadt, far from his home.
When he emerged from his hotel the next day carrying the crossbow in a sports bag, he was detained.
"We knew exactly what the danger was, so we felt it was safest to take him in the next day," a police source told 'Bild' newspaper. When his apartment was searched, police found Isil videos and evidence he had been planning to manufacture TATP, the same explosive used in the Paris and Brussels attacks.
Nicknamed the "mother of Satan" by jihadists, TATP can be manufactured using readily available products such as nail polish and hair dye.
But it is the ease with which powerful crossbows can be bought that has now set alarm bells ringing.
So serious is the risk considered that the issue has reportedly been sent straight to Angela Merkel's desk. The crossbow Ivan K bought cost €249 and can be bought in shops or on the internet.
Crossbows can be legally bought and carried in public without a licence in both the UK and Germany. In Ireland and countries such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark, crossbows are classed as firearms and can only be bought or possessed with a licence.
"If I want a small weapon to terrorize people, I can buy this dangerous crossbow just like that and even carry it with me," a police source told 'Bild'. (© Daily Telegraph London)