Germany: Suspect in attack plot registered as Syrian refugee

AP News
Posted: Feb 05, 2016 11:29 AM
Germany: Suspect in attack plot registered as Syrian refugee

BERLIN (AP) — One of four Algerian men suspected of plotting an attack in Berlin had registered in Germany as a Syrian refugee and another had contacts in Belgium, police said Friday.

Police, who suspect the four had ties to the Islamic State group, conducted raids Thursday in Berlin and western Germany. One of the Algerians and his wife were arrested at a refugee home because they were sought by Algerian authorities for belonging to the extremist group.

Berlin police said the man arrived with his family in Germany at the end of last year and sought asylum under a Syrian identity.

Police said they established that another of the Algerians, who wasn't arrested, had contacts with Belgium. They didn't elaborate, but the country has a strong Islamic extremist scene.

There were three arrests in all on Thursday. Another of the Algerian men was arrested for falsifying documents. Police said he had used a fake French identity to re-enter Germany when he returned after a one-year break in 2014 and used various identities.

The suspected plot appears to have been disrupted at an early stage following an investigation that started in December. Police said they didn't have information on any specific target in Berlin.

"There were concrete indications that there were people in Germany who were pursuing plans to commit attacks, but there was no concrete indication of a concrete forthcoming terrorist act," Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, told ZDF television.

The man who posed as a Syrian refugee is believed to have received military training in Syria. Berlin police released what they said was one of several pictures proving that he was there. It showed him posing with a pistol, several guns and grenades, along with ammunition.