Germany arrests man over ‘toxic substance’
GERMAN police have arrested a Tunisian man after discovering “toxic substances” at his flat in Cologne, officials said yesterday, with prosecutors not ruling out a possible terror motive.
The man was detained Tuesday night after officers raided his flat and came across “unknown substances” that are currently being analyzed by specialists, Cologne police said in a statement.
The suspect’s wife was also taken in for questioning but is believed to have since been released.
“We decided to take very swift action to ward off possible danger,” police spokesman Andre Fassbender told DPA news agency.
Federal prosecutors have opened an investigation against the Tunisian on suspicion of “preparing a serious act of violence against the state.”
A spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office, which handles terror-related cases in Germany, said that they were not investigating the wife.
According to broadcaster NTV, the woman is a German national who recently converted to Islam. She was said to be pregnant.
Police officers, including special forces, were still combing the couple’s flat on the first floor of a large apartment building on Wednesday. Chemical experts wearing protective gear were seen removing plastic bags from the scene.
The couple’s children have been taken into the care of city authorities.
Germany remains on high alert for jihadist attacks after several assaults claimed by the Islamic State group in the country in recent years.
In the worst such attack, Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri rammed a truck into crowds at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016, killing 12.
Police officers exit a building yesterday in Cologne, where German police arrested a Tunisian man after discovering “toxic substances” at his flat. — AFP