Tue, Oct 11, 2016 - Page 7 News List

Terrorist attack suspect arrested in east Germany

‘EXPLOSIVE SUBSTANCE’:Police finally caught Jaber Albakr yesterday after an almost two-day manhunt when he sought help from two other Syrians in Leipzig

AFP, BERLIN

German police yesterday arrested a Syrian man suspected of plotting a bomb attack, after a massive manhunt lasting almost two days.

Security had been stepped up at airports and train stations after Jaber Albakr, 22, went on the run on Saturday when police raided his apartment and found several hundred grams of “an explosive substance more dangerous than TNT.”

“We’ve succeeded, really overjoyed: the terror suspect Albakr was arrested overnight in Leipzig,” police said on Twitter yesterday.

Police had said that “even a small quantity” of the explosives uncovered “could have caused enormous damage.”

Local media reported that the material was TATP, the homemade explosive that was used by militants in the Paris and Brussels attacks.

Albakr was believed to have had Internet contact with the Islamic State group, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.

According to security sources quoted, he had built “a virtual bomb-making lab” in the flat in a communist-era housing block and was thought to have planned an attack against either one of Berlin’s two airports or a transport hub in his home state of Saxony.

Acting on a tip-off from the intelligence agency, police commandos had sought to swoop on the Syrian early on Saturday at his apartment building in the eastern city of Chemnitz, about 85km from Leipzig, but he narrowly evaded police, local media said.

He was finally caught in the early hours of yesterday after police learned that he had sought help from two Syrians in Leipzig, Spiegel Online reported.

Meanwhile, Albakr’s Syrian flatmate has been formally remanded in custody as a suspected fellow conspirator of a “serious act of violence,” while two other of his associates, who had been detained earlier, have been released.

Police commandos on Sunday also raided the Chemnitz home of another suspected contact of Albakr, taking away a man for questioning.

Spiegel Online said Albakr had entered Germany on Feb. 18 last year and two weeks later filed a request for asylum, which was granted in June that year.

Germany has been on edge since two Islamic Stage group-claimed attacks in July — an axe rampage on a train in Wuerzburg that injured five and a suicide bombing in Ansbach in which 15 people were hurt.

The bloodshed has fueled concerns over Germany’s record influx of nearly 900,000 refugees last year.

Late last month, police arrested a 16-year-old Syrian refugee in Cologne on suspicion he was planning a bombing in the name of the Islamic State group.

A week earlier, they detained three men who were believed to be a possible Islamic State group “sleeper cell.”

German authorities have urged the public not to confuse refugees with “terrorists,” but have acknowledged that more militants might have entered the nation among the asylum seekers.

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