German police arrested three suspects with ties to Islamic State who were plotting a terror attack in Berlin. One of the suspects who claimed to be from Syria was arrested in a refugee center. He is from Algeria.
Security agencies have been monitoring the suspects since January, Funke Media Group said. The men behaved conspiratorially, changed their mobile phones multiple times and communicated via instant messaging services, it added.
The Tagesspiegel newspaper, citing security sources, said leading members of Islamic State (IS), who were responsible for the Paris attacks that killed 130 people in November, had given the order for an attack in Germany.
Prosecutors declined to comment on the report.
Police seized computers, mobile telephones and sketches in the raids, Steltner said, adding “we haven’t found the smoking gun”.
A couple was arrested in North Rhine-Westphalia and another man was arrested in Berlin, Steltner said. All were detained on existing warrants related to other matters.
The man detained in North-Rhine Westphalia was arrested in a shelter for refugees and arrived a short while ago in Germany claiming to be from Syria, Steltner said.
He is wanted by Algerian authorities, who believe he is a member of Islamic State, said Steltner. He is suspected of having military training in Syria.
The status of the other men was unclear, but Redlich said the two Berlin-based suspects were not refugees.
“In Berlin, the two persons we are investigating are not refugees,” Redlich added. “Both have jobs here and have been here a long time.”
German fears about an attack have risen since the Paris killings. Authorities canceled a friendly international soccer match in Hanover last year and closed stations in Munich at New Year due to security concerns.
Germany, and the rest of Europe for that matter, better get used to this. Monthly — perhaps weekly — announcements of terror plots broken up with the arrest of jihadists. Does it matter that one of the plotters arrived mixed in with the refugees? You have to figure if one made it through, others are also out there waiting to be activated.
And the fact that authorities believe the Berlin operation was ordered by the same Islamic State leaders who ordered the Paris attacks should prove to even the most naive Islamist apologist that ISIS is using the refugee crisis to put their people in place to carry out future attacks.