German police find explosives in flat during hunt for Syrian national

The Guardian

Staff and agencies

4011Officers evacuate block following raid of Jaber Albakr’s apartment and tell locals to remain indoors

German police hunting for a Syrian-born man suspected of planning a bomb attack found explosives in a flat they raided while searching for him on Saturday, officials said.

Police appealed to the public for information on Jaber Albakr, 22, who was last seen in the eastern city of Chemnitz wearing a black hooded top with a bright pattern on the front.

“The search for the suspect is ongoing,” Saxony state police tweeted. “However, we do not know where he is and what he is carrying with him. Be careful.”

Police detained three people in Chemnitz who they said were known to Albakr, but he remained at large. The detainees were being questioned.

Tom Bernhardt, spokesman for the Saxony state criminal investigation office, said officers did not immediately find the several hundred grammes of explosives when searching the apartment because they were well hidden.

Hundreds of police including specialist commandos combed a residential area in Chemnitz looking for Albakr. The police deployment followed a tipoff from the domestic intelligence service, though the “where, when, how and why” of the planned attack remained unclear, Bernhardt said.

Police asked local residents to remain indoors and began evacuating more after discovering the explosives. Bernhardt said it was unclear how many suspects might be involved.

Germany has been on edge since two attacks this summer claimed by Islamic State in which many people were injured and both assailants died.

Two other attacks unrelated to Islamic extremism, including a deadly mall shooting in Munich, have also contributed to fears.

The attacks in July rattled Germans’ sense of security and fuelled concerns among some residents about the country’s record influx of refugees last year.

German police previously said they had identified 523 people who posed a security threat to the country, about half of whom were known to be in Germany at present.

Date Published: Saturday 8 October 2016

 

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