In the middle of the night, police officers move to an apartment: a man is said to have obtained poison for an Islamist attack. At least in the apartment, the emergency services do not find the substances.
During the search in the Ruhr area for a possible planned attack, the investigators found no toxins in the suspect’s apartment. A spokesman for the Düsseldorf public prosecutor’s office told the German Press Agency.
A 32-year-old is suspected of having procured cyanide and ricin for an Islamist-motivated attack. The investigators did not initially answer whether he succeeded and whether the toxins were stored elsewhere. It was also initially unclear how concrete a possible attack plan was. That is still the subject of the investigation, said the spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office. The 32-year-old Iranian national is suspected of preparing a serious act of violence that is dangerous to the state. It was initially unclear whether and when the man should be brought before a magistrate.
The alleged Islamist is said not to have acted on behalf of Iranian state authorities, as the German Press Agency learned from security circles. Rather, it is suspected that he is a supporter of a Sunni Islamist terrorist group. His brother, who happened to be in the 32-year-old’s apartment in Castrop-Rauxel when the police took hold of him, was known to the police beforehand, but for reasons unrelated to Islamist terrorism. It is not yet clear whether he was aware of the alleged attack plans. The men are said to have both been in Germany since 2015.
RKI employees involved in the operation
According to a report by “Bild”, employees of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) were also on site as consultants because of the biological and chemical dangers for the emergency services. Several employees of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and a defuse commando were also deployed. The BKA did not want to comment on the operation and referred to the Attorney General’s Office.
According to the RKI, the highly toxic ricin is listed under “biological weapons” in the war weapons list. Cyanide is also highly toxic, even the smallest amounts are fatal to humans.
“The accused is suspected of having prepared a serious act of violence that is dangerous to the state,” the authorities said. It has not yet been decided whether the Iranian will be brought before a magistrate. The procedure is being conducted by the North Rhine-Westphalia Central Office for the Prosecution of Terrorism at the Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Tips from “friend secret service”
The 32-year-old and the second man taken into custody were only scantily dressed and led across the street into an emergency vehicle, eyewitnesses reported. Neither of them resisted. According to a WDR report, the two men are said to be brothers.
According to information from “Bild”, the Federal Criminal Police Office has been investigating the Iranian for several days. A “friend of the secret service” is said to have warned the German security authorities about the danger of a chemical bomb attack.
Four years ago, investigations in Cologne showed just how dangerous ricin is: in a 15-story building in the high-rise district of Chorweiler, a Tunisian and his German wife produced the chemical and set off test explosions. A foreign secret service became suspicious about online purchases of large quantities of castor seeds and gave a tip. Both were sentenced to long prison terms. An expert report showed that, purely arithmetically, 13,500 people could have died from the amount of poison. With the planned spread by a cluster bomb spiked with steel balls, it would have killed around 200 people.
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