Ger­many mounts man­hunt for ‘bomber’

The Myanmar Times - - World -

GER­MAN po­lice have launched a huge man­hunt for a 22-year-old Syr­ian sus­pected of plan­ning a bomb at­tack after find­ing “highly ex­plo­sive” ma­te­ri­als in his apart­ment.

Se­cu­rity has been boosted at Berlin’s two air­ports and at train sta­tions in the cap­i­tal.

The sus­pect, Jaber Al­bakr, could have had “an Is­lamist mo­tive”, po­lice sources told AFP. Ger­man news agency DPA, cit­ing se­cu­rity sources, re­ported that Mr Al­bakr had links to the Is­lamic State (IS) group.

The magazine Fo­cus re­ported that he was sus­pected of plot­ting to at­tack an air­port.

Po­lice said “sev­eral hun­dred grams” of an “ex­plo­sive sub­stance even more dan­ger­ous than TNT” were found in Mr Al­bakr’s apart­ment in the eastern city of Chem­nitz, about 260 kilo­me­tres (162 miles) south of Berlin.

“Even a small quan­tity of this sub­stance could have caused enor­mous dam­age,” po­lice said.

The Freie Presse news­pa­per said the sub­stance was TATP, the home­made ex­plo­sive used by IS ter­ror­ists in the Paris and Brus­sels at­tacks.

A spokesper­son for Ger­many’s do­mes­tic in­tel­li­gence agency told AFP that Mr Al­bakr, who ar­rived last year as a refugee, had been un­der sur­veil­lance. In­ves­ti­ga­tors raised the alarm on Oc­to­ber 7, spark­ing the raid.

Three peo­ple with links to Mr Al­bakr have been ar­rested in Chem­nitz.

Heav­ily armed of­fi­cers, some wear­ing bal­a­clavas, car­ried out a vast op­er­a­tion in the neigh­bour­hood where Mr Al­bakr had been liv­ing.

Around 100 lo­cal res­i­dents were evac­u­ated, and a loud ex­plo­sion was heard in the leafy sub­urb as po­lice forced their way into the apart­ment with an en­try de­vice.

Ger­many has been on edge after suf­fer­ing two at­tacks claimed by IS in July – an axe ram­page on a train in Wuerzburg that in­jured five and a sui­cide bomb­ing in Ans­bach that left 15 wounded.

Those two at­tacks rat­tled Ger­mans’ sense of se­cu­rity and fu­elled con­cerns over the coun­try’s record in­flux of nearly 900,000 mi­grants and refugees last year.

Part of Chem­nitz’s main sta­tion was sealed off by of­fi­cers as a re­mote­con­trolled robot was de­ployed to in­spect a sus­pect pack­age on a plat­form which turned out to be harm­less.

Po­lice de­stroyed the ex­plo­sives found in the apart­ment in spe­cially dug holes on land nearby.

Two of Mr Al­bakr’s as­so­ci­ates were ar­rested close to the sta­tion while a third was taken into cus­tody in the city cen­tre. A pack­age be­long­ing to one of those ar­rested was un­der­go­ing anal­y­sis, po­lice added.

Mr Al­bakr was liv­ing in a neigh­bour­hood of Chem­nitz whose com­mu­nist era hous­ing es­tates are home to many re­cently ar­rived refugees.

Po­lice, is­su­ing an im­age of the 22-year-old, said he was “sus­pected of pre­par­ing a bomb at­tack”.

Ger­man po­lice had pre­vi­ously said they had iden­ti­fied 523 peo­ple who posed a se­cu­rity threat to the coun­try, around half of whom were known to be cur­rently in Ger­many. –

Photo: AFP

Po­lice­men in pro­tec­tive gear on guard in front of a res­i­den­tial build­ing where the sus­pect stayed in Chem­nitz, eastern Ger­many, on Oc­to­ber 8.

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