Bremen police downgrade terror alert after search yields no weapons | News | DW | 01.03.2015
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Bremen police downgrade terror alert after search yields no weapons

Bremen police have downgraded a terror alert after a search of homes and a cultural center found no weapons. At least one suspect is being investigated for selling guns, but fears of an Islamist plot have subsided.

Police in Bremen downgraded a terror alert in the north German city, claiming the alert had been triggered by evidence that a Lebanese man had procured machine guns and automatic pistols.

Prosecutor and state Interior Minister Ulrich Mäurer said searches had taken place on Saturday night, but that no weapons had been found.

The 39-year-old Lebanese man is suspected of having obtained the weapons for resale. He and one other man were detained by police. A search of an Islamic center and the homes of the two suspects on Saturday and into Sunday yielded no weapons, but officials said they had seized data devices which would be analyzed.

Mäurer said the alert had been raised after city authorities received information from a federal source, with the investigation by local police ongoing since the beginning of the year.

Bremen Terrorwarnung

Police stood guard outside the city's main synagogue after the alarm was raised

"This evidence was so specific that we could no longer rule out the threat of an attack in Bremen," Mäurer told reporters. "We are pleased that we have found no weapons. Overall, we can downgrade the situation."

Police presence reduced

Officers had been deployed across the city on Saturday morning, with officials saying they had received evidence of a potential Islamist plot.

Police also stood guard at key locations including the city hall, main church and a synagogue early on Sunday, with the city still facing a "heightened threat level."

Fears of attacks against Jews in particular have been raised in Western nations. In February, Copenhagen saw attacks in which two people died, one ot them outside a synagogue, and a Paris kosher deli was targeted in a January strike.

The police presence in Bremen was reduced following the announcement downgrading the threat.

Although a Bundesliga football match between Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg was set to go ahead as planned later in the day, extra security precautions had been planned at the 42,000 capacity Weserstadion football ground.

The alert was the third major terror scare this year in Germany, after fears of plots led to the cancellation of a January march in Dresden by the "anti-Islamization" group PEGIDA and the calling off of a February Carnival procession in Braunschweig.

rc/gsw (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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