German police detain three men after explosives haul

Hunt on for Syrian man after raid uncovers "highly explosive materials" in an apartment in Chemnitz in country's east.

    German police say they have detained three men in connection with explosives found during in a special forces raid on an apartment in the eastern German town of Chemnitz.

    The three are suspected of being linked to a 22-year-old Syrian, Jaber Albakr, who fled from authorities on Saturday during the police operation over a suspected bomb plot.

    "Highly explosive materials were found in the apartment concerned in Chemnitz. New evacuation measures are necessary," police in Germany's east announced on Twitter.

    The apartment was raided after local authorities received a tip from Germany's domestic intelligence agency that the suspect might be there and that he was thought to be planning a bombing attack.

    When police knocked down the door, however, no one was inside.

    'Relatively well hidden'

    Tom Bernhardt, Saxony police spokesman, said that the explosives were "relatively well hidden" in the apartment.

    Police are still searching for Albakr, who is from the Damascus area of Syria.

    They released a photo of a dark-haired man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and said he was last seen wearing similar clothes.

    "We have to assume that he is dangerous," Bernhardt said.

    He said two people who knew Albakr were taken into custody in the Chemnitz train station area and a third in the city's business district.

    He said police were questioning the three, hoping they had information that might help them find the suspect.

    Both the apartment block and the train station were on lockdown during the police operations. 

    'Connected to armed groups'

    Authorities have not said where they think the suspected attack was going to take place.

    DPA news agency reported, citing unidentified German security sources, that the suspect is believed to be connected to armed groups.

    Bernhardt said, however, that police are still trying to determine what his motivation might be and would only say he was "known" to German intelligence.

    Authorities released no details about how long the suspect had been in Germany, and Bernhardt said it was unclear whether he had come in the wave of asylum seekers in 2015.

    Germany took in 890,000 asylum seekers last year, and Syrians fleeing civil war were the single largest group.

     

    SOURCE: News Agencies


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