Arrest of two Iranians suspected of preparing a chemical attack in Germany
The house in Castrop-Rauxel, western Germany, where police arrested a 32-year-old Iranian man on suspicion of planning a terrorist act.
German authorities announced on Sunday the arrest of two Iranians suspected of planning to carry out an “Islamist” attack using chemical weapons, more specifically ricin and cyanide, following a ;an FBI warning, according to the press.
The two men, introduced by their initials only as M.J., 32, and his brother, J.J. ., 25, will soon be brought before a judge for remand, the Düsseldorf regional prosecutor's office said in the evening.
“They are accused of having agreed to carry out an Islamist-inspired attack for which they wanted to obtain toxic substances, cyanide and ricin, and with that kill a number indeterminate people. »
— The Düsseldorf Regional Prosecutor's Office
The accommodation of the two suspects, located in Castrop-Rauxel, in the west of the country, was searched overnight from Saturday to Sunday by the police, who however found no indication of the presence of these products.
On the images of the private television channel NTV, we see the two arrested people taken away in their underwear by officers, meanwhile dressed in special protective suits because of the risk of a chemical nature.
Regional Interior Minister Herbert Reul explained that the authorities had received indications to be taken seriously which led the police to act during the night.
According to the newspapers Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung, it was the American FBI that warned the German services during the Christmas period.
The American federal police would have succeeded in infiltrating a Telegram messaging group, where the suspect first inquired about bombings and then about those committed using toxic substances, according to Der Spiegel. p>
Also according to this newspaper, the two brothers, who would be Sunni Iranians having pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) organization, would have considered taking action on New Year's Eve, but they would have lacked elements for the manufacture of ricin and cyanide poisons.
Federal Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser, justified the police raid. Our security services take every clue about the danger of Islamist terrorism very seriously, she said in a statement.
Ricin is a very toxic agent classified by the Robert Koch Institute, responsible for medical and health monitoring in Germany, as a biological weapon. It is extracted from the seeds of the ricin plant and can be a deadly poison, like cyanide.
In 2018, German police had already arrested a Tunisian from 31 years old and his wife, suspected of having wanted to prepare what would have been the first biological attack in the country.
At this couple who had pledged allegiance to the armed group Islamic State , the investigators had found 84.3 mg of ricin and some 3300 castor seeds which would have made it possible to manufacture the poison. Two years later, the man was sentenced to 10 years in prison and his wife to eight years in prison.
In recent years, the Germany has been targeted by several Islamist attacks, including a ramming attack on a Christmas market in December 2016, which left 13 people dead.