Tunisian held for ricin attack plot in Germany
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.