Germany nabs Syrian teenager over suspected bomb attack
German authorities have detained a 16-year-old Syrian refugee with links to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group on suspicion of planning a terror attack in Germany.
Police and prosecutors said Wednesday the teen was arrested in a special forces operation at a shelter for asylum seekers in the city of Cologne in western Germany late Tuesday.
The officials said the teen, who arrived in the country with his family last year, was radicalized only recently.
German police labeled the suspect as a “serious threat.”
Klaus-Stephan Becker of the Cologne police said initial examination of the suspect’s mobile phone showed that he had expressed an “unmistakable willingness” to conduct an assault.
Investigators had found “concrete instructions for building explosive devices” and tips on how to cause maximum damage in the history of the teen’s online chat messages, added local prosecutor Ulf Willuhn.
Willuhn further said it was not immediately clear how far the plans for an assault had progressed.
A 35-strong team of investigators has been assigned to the case.
Police and prosecutors earlier stated that an assessment of the teen’s phone proved that he was contacting a person abroad who had links to Daesh and “wanted to recruit the young Syrian” for terror activities.
The news comes a week after the German police arrested three men with fake Syrian passports over their links to Daesh, which has recently claimed a number of attacks on German soil.
The Takfiri group has vowed more assaults against civilians and security forces in Germany over the country’s contribution to the US-led coalition purportedly targeting Daesh positions in Iraq and Syria.
In July, a 27-year-old Syrian refugee killed himself and injured 15 people outside a café in the city of Ansbach in Bavaria in southern Germany. Daesh claimed the attack, saying the Syrian man was a recruit.
The Takfiri group also claimed responsibility for an attack on four passengers on a regional train in Bavaria in the same month.
Also in July, a teenager opened fire on people shopping at a mall in the city of Munich, killing nine and injuring more than 35 others. Officials ruled out that the case was a terrorism issue.