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German interior minister praises arrest of suspected IS sympathizer

Taken into custody on Wednesday night, the suspect is of Syrian origin and has been in Germany since 2015. He was reportedly given permission to carry out a terrorist attack by a member of the so-called 'Islamic State'.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has praised Wednesday's arrest of a suspected 'Islamic State' sympathizer. "I am very happy that we were successful in apprehending him so that an attack cannot occur in Germany,” said de Maiziere. 

The minister's comment followed Berlin state police announcements late Wednesday that a man of Syrian origin had been arrested on suspicion of links to the so-called "Islamic State.”

The federal prosecutor's office identified the suspect as 27-year old Ashraf Al-T. The man was arrested in an apartment he was sharing with a refugee volunteer in the Schöneberg district of Germany's capital. His last name was not provided due to German privacy rules. No explosives were found after the arrest.

Investigators claimed Al-T was given permission to carry out a terrorist attack from a member of IS. "He is thought to have been given permission from there to plan an attack in Germany in the near future,” the federal prosecutor's office said Thursday. A magistrate will determine whether he will stay in custody and be brought to Karlsruhe, the seat of the federal prosecutor's office, which investigates terrorism-related cases.

The arrest comes after another Syrian man was arrested in October for planning an attack in a Berlin airport. The man hanged himself in his cell in Leipzig after his arrest. Authorities say there is no connection between the two men.

Deutschland Festnahme Terrorverdächtiger (Getty Images/S. Gallup)

Alshraf Al-T lived in this apartment complex and was arrested here Wednesday

Job well done

After two IS-claimed attacks in Germany during the summer, security forces have been on high alert to prevent further attacks. 

According to German intelligence figures released in May, 820 Germans left the country for Syria or Iraq. Almost one-third of whom have returned, 140 were killed, and approximately 420 are still in Syria or Iraq.

kbd/kl (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

 

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