Officers have apprehended a suspect in connection with a fire started outside the home of Germany's president. The incident follows several identical attacks around Berlin.
Berlin police arrested a 50-year-old man on Sunday under suspicion that he had lobbed a Molotov cocktail at Bellevue Palace (Schloss Bellevue), the official residence of German President Joachim Gauck.
According to the police report, the man managed only to singe a bit of the castle's outer gate before fleeing by bicycle at 3 in the morning. The fire grew, but agents of the federal police were able to extinguish the blaze without any injury or significant property damage.
At the site of the attack, the police found a number of flyers with political messages that appeared to be purposely left at the scene by the culprit.
The police statement said they were able to track down the suspect after a witness called the police, saying he had seen a man trying to pry open a cigarette vending machine after coming from the direction of Bellevue Palace.
Similar attacks have been cropping up around Berlin the past year, reported German news agency DPA. Just last April, another man was seen riding away on a bicycle after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the Paul Löbe House, a building in Berlin used by government. Last year the same sort of attack hit the party headquarters of the Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Reichstag building, where Germany's parliament meets. Political flyers were also found near the scenes of these crimes.
The police did not comment on whether they thought the suspect they had in custody was behind the other incidents.