Tu­nisian ar­rested over al­leged ricin mass mur­der plot

Sus­pect ac­cused of bi­o­log­i­cal at­tack bid

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - WORLD NEWS -

Ger­man au­thor­i­ties have thwarted a plan by a Tu­nisian man who cre­ated the deadly toxin ricin and planned to use it in an Is­lamist ex­trem­ist at­tack, fed­eral prose­cu­tors said.

Sief Al­lah H, whose last name was not given in line with Ger­man pri­vacy laws, was taken into cus­tody on Tues­day dur­ing a raid on his apart­ment in Cologne.

The 29- year- old was for­mally ar­rested on Wed­nes­day af­ter a judge reviewed the ev­i­dence.

Au­thor­i­ties are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing how the sus­pect planned to use the toxin, but said he was work­ing on a “bi­o­log­i­cal weapon” at­tack in Ger­many.

“We don’t know how, or how widely, the ricin was to have been dis­trib­uted,” said prose­cu­tors’ spokesman Markus Sch­mitt.

The sus­pect is be­lieved to have be­gun procur­ing ma­te­rial on­line in mid-

“We don’t know how, or how widely, the ricin was to have been dis­trib­uted”

May, prose­cu­tors said. They say he cre­ated the toxin this month and in­ves­ti­ga­tors found it in the apart­ment search.

The sub­stance kills the body’s cells by pre­vent­ing them from creat­ing pro­tein. A few mil­ligrams are enough to kill an adult if it is eaten, in­jected or in­haled. Early symp­toms in­clude chest pain, breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties and cough­ing.

The sus­pect is not known to have been a mem­ber of a ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion but did have con­tacts with ex­trem­ists, Mr Sch­mitt said.

“He had con­tacts with peo­ple in the ji­hadist spec­trum,” Mr Sch­mitt said, but would not elab­o­rate on whether those con­tacts were on­line, in per­son or both.

He also would not com­ment on a re­port in the top-sell­ing Bild news­pa­per that US in­tel­li­gence tipped off Ger­man in­ves­ti­ga­tors af­ter they de­tected the sus­pect’s on­line ac­tiv­ity buy­ing seeds to make ricin.

Bild also re­ported that the sus­pect bought bomb­mak­ing ma­te­ri­als and chem­i­cals used in the pro­duc­tion of ricin.

It said the sus­pect lived in the Chor­weiler neigh­bour­hood of Cologne with his wife and four chil­dren.

He sup­pos­edly used in­struc­tions to make a ricin bomb that had been posted on­line by the ex­trem­ist Is­lamic State group.

His wife was ini­tially taken into cus­tody but was later re­leased.

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