Ger­man po­lice de­tain fugi­tive ter­ror suspect Al-Bakr

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Af­ter a two-day man­hunt, Ger­man po­lice have captured a Syr­ian man be­lieved to have been plan­ning a ji­hadist bomb at­tack.

Jaber al-Bakr, who ar­rived in Ger­many as a refugee, was de­tained in a flat in the east­ern city of Leipzig in the early hours yes­ter­day.

He had sought help from another Syr­ian, who had alerted po­lice and tied him up, re­ports say.

The hunt be­gan af­ter po­lice found ex­plo­sives at Mr al­Bakr’s flat.

In the ini­tial raid in the east­ern town of Chem­nitz early on Satur­day, Mr al-Bakr, 22, evaded cap­ture as of­fi­cers fired a warn­ing shot in a botched at­tempt to stop him.

Po­lice then found a det­o­na­tor, ex­plo­sives and a kilo of chem­i­cals in his Chem­nitz flat. Un­con­firmed re­ports sug­gest the sub­stance was TATP, a home­made ex­plo­sive used ji­hadist at­tacks in Paris and Brus­sels over the past year.

Se­cu­rity sources re­ferred to Mr al-Bakr’s apart­ment as a “a vir­tual bomb-mak­ing lab”, and car­ried out a con­trolled ex­plo­sion. Ger­man au­thor­i­ties feared a pos­si­ble plan to tar­get an airport in Ber­lin.

As the search for the suspect broad­ened, a po­lice com­mando unit ar­rested another man in Chem­nitz, blast­ing open the door of his home.

How­ever, it was not un­til late on Sun­day night that po­lice were given a tip-off from another Syr­ian man liv­ing in Leipzig who had been con­tacted by Jaber al-Bakr from the city’s main sta­tion.

At 00:42 yes­ter­day morn­ing, po­lice burst into the flat in the Pauns­dorf area of the city and found the suspect al­ready tied up, Ger­many’s Spiegel web­site re­ported.

Jaber Al-Bakr came to Ger­many in Fe­bru­ary 2015 and was granted asy­lum in Novem­ber, Ger­man me­dia say. He re­port­edly had links to the so-called Is­lamic State group. He is ex­pected to be moved to the city of Karl­sruhe later on.

Over a mil­lion ir­reg­u­lar mi­grants ar­rived in Ger­many last year, many flee­ing the con­flict in Syria. The lat­est in­ci­dent will put pres­sure on Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel to re­as­sure a ner­vous Ger­man pub­lic that her de­ci­sion to al­low such large num­bers into the coun­try has not en­dan­gered the coun­try.

A spokesper­son for the Ger­man in­te­rior min­istry said on Sun­day: “We can’t rule out in Ger­many such at­tacks that we’ve seen lately in France and Bel­gium.”

The Bavar­ian CSU, al­lied to Mrs Merkel’s rul­ing cen­tre-right Chris­tian Democrats, called yes­ter­day for stricter se­cu­rity re­views for asy­lum seek­ers. The party called on the gov­ern­ment to fo­cus “even more in­ten­sively” in scru­ti­n­is­ing mi­grants for po­ten­tial ex­trem­ists.

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