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Syrian terror suspect arrested in Berlin

November 19, 2019

German authorities say they've arrested a Syrian observed in chat networks seeking ingredients to make the explosive TAPT. When and where the suspect, allegedly with Islamist leanings, was planning an attack is unclear.

German police officer
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/K.-J. Hildenbrand

Special federal police units detained a Syrian man in his Berlin apartment early Tuesday on a charge of preparing a text aimed at perpetrating a terror act endangering the state, prosecutors said.

Federal prosecutors said the suspect had begun to procure the "requisite components and chemicals for the construction of an explosive device" with the intention of killing as many people as possible.

"This was intended for detonation at an unknown point in time and at an unknown location in Germany," they added.

Read more: 7 attacks 'prevented' since 2016 Berlin Christmas market atrocity

In August he had purchased hydrogen peroxide and acetone — two chemicals used to synthesize the high explosive TATP.

Molecular diagram for TATP
Molecular diagram for TATPImage: Imago//Science Photo Library

Under observation

Berlin prosecutors said that since early 2019, the Syrian had been observed nine times in an electronic message group affiliated with the terror militia "Islamic State" (IS).

Topics had included instructions on plastic explosives, packet and magnet bombs, and booby trap-explosives, followed by Kalashnikov K-47 guns and machine pistols.

German public broadcaster ARD said initial tips had been given by an unidentified foreign secret service to Germany's domestic intelligence agency (BfV).

Read more: Germany: Terror victims to receive better compensation

Employed as cleaner

The suspect was employed as a cleaner at one of Berlin's primary schools and had been under observation since early this year, according to Berlin city-state's interior senator Andreas Geisel.

The Berliner Zeitung daily said the suspect lived near the town hall in Berlin's district of Schöneberg.

Before working at the school, he had been employed at Berlin's renowned Bode Museum.

ipj/rt (dpa, AFP)

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