Tu­nisian held for ricin at­tack plot in Ger­many

The National - News - - NEWS WORLD - PAUL PEACHEY

Prose­cu­tors claimed on Thurs­day to have foiled an ex­trem­ist plot to at­tack Ger­many us­ing the deadly toxin ricin.

A po­lice unit found the ricin on Tues­day when of­fi­cers raided the home of a Tu­nisian man, named as Sief Al­lah H, in the west­ern city of Cologne.

Se­cu­rity of­fi­cials had been alerted to a po­ten­tial plot after “Sief” al­legedly bought 1,000 rici­nus seeds and an elec­tronic cof­fee grinder in May to cre­ate the toxin. Of­fi­cials said that he had cre­ated ricin in June.

Ricin, which can be in­haled in the form of pow­der or in­jected, is made from the poi­sonous shell of the cas­tor plant seed.

It at­tacks the body’s cells and can kill in less than three days. There is no known an­ti­dote, ac­cord­ing to the US Cen­tres for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion.

Prose­cu­tors said that the man was work­ing on a “biological weapon” at­tack in Ger­many but they are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing what he planned to tar­get and how. They said they had no ev­i­dence of a con­nec­tion with any ex­trem­ist group.

The man had been in Ger­many since 2016 and was an ISIS sup­porter, ac­cord­ing to city news­pa­per Kol­ner Stadt-Anzeiger. It said that the au­thor­i­ties had been watch­ing him for some time be­fore mov­ing in.

Bild news­pa­per said that US in­tel­li­gence had tipped off Ger­man in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

It also claimed that the sus­pect, de­scribed as a mar­ried man with four chil­dren, had bought bomb-mak­ing ma­te­ri­als and was said to have used in­struc­tions to make a ricin bomb that had been posted on­line by ISIS.

Ricin has fea­tured in al­leged ter­ror­ist and crim­i­nal plots. A let­ter con­tain­ing the deadly sub­stance was sent to Barack Obama in 2013 but was in­ter­cepted be­fore it reached the pres­i­dent.

A man in the United States later ad­mit­ted send­ing the let­ter to the pres­i­dent and two other of­fi­cials and was jailed for 25 years.

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