German police detain fugitive terror suspect Al-Bakr
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.