German police arrest German soldier suspected of planning attack

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 27, 2017 7:24 AM

BERLIN (Reuters) - German police have arrested an army officer suspected of planning an attack, the prosecutor's office in the city of Frankfurt said on Thursday, giving no details on the potential target, motive or weapons he had planned to use.

The 28-year-old lieutenant, a German citizen who serves with a German army brigade stationed in the French town of Illkirch, south of Strasbourg, was arrested on Wednesday in the Bavarian city of Offenbach, east of Frankfurt.

Police in Germany, France, and Austria searched 16 properties on Wednesday in connection with the investigation "over suspicions of preparing a severe attack, breaching gun laws and deceit", the prosecutor's office said in a statement. They seized mobile phones, laptops and written documents.

Before his arrest, the soldier, who was not named, had been detained in late January by Austrian authorities on suspicion of having hidden an illegal gun in a bathroom at Vienna's main Schwechat airport.

A subsequent investigation launched in February showed he had used a fake identity to register as a Syrian refugee in Giessen, near Frankfurt, in January 2016, the office said.

He later moved to Bavaria, where he applied for asylum and moved into a shelter for migrants. He started receiving welfare support in January, the prosecutor's office said.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr and Sabine Siebold; Editing by Catherine Evans)