BERLIN (AP) — Police in central Germany detained two known Islamic extremists on Thursday in an investigation of suspected plans for an attack.
The men, a 27-year-old Algerian and a 23-year-old Nigerian whose names weren't released, were detained during early-morning searches in and near Goettingen. Both men live in the city and have long been part of the Salafist scene there, police said.
Twelve properties were searched in the operation. Information about a possible attack plan had accumulated in recent days to the extent that officials decided to take quick action, Goettingen police chief Uwe Luehrig said.
Investigators found two weapons, at least one of them a firearm that required no permit but had been altered so that it could fire live ammunition, senior Goettingen police official Volker Warnecke told reporters. They also found ammunition, flags of the Islamic State group and a machete.
Warnecke said that investigators had been looking into the local radical scene for several months, and had determined last weekend that the suspects might carry out an attack shortly.
Officials can't yet say how concrete and advanced their plans were, what exactly they planned to do, or what or where the target might have been, Warnecke said.
The suspects are not asylum-seekers and had "worked sporadically," he said. Investigators believe that neither had fought in Syria or Iraq.
Germany was shaken last year by three attacks claimed by IS, including the Dec. 19 attack on a Christmas market in Berlin in which 12 people were killed.