Tuesday

25th Apr 2017

German police arrest suspected terrorists

  • Islamic State is suspected of planning an attack on Berlin's Alexanderplatz. (Photo: Nicolas Nova)

German police arrested a man in Berlin and a woman and a man near Cologne on Thursday (4 February) for what they believe may have been preparation for a terror attack in the German capital.

Police raids were also operated in Hannover. Two other men are still being hunted by security forces, which are expected to publish photos on Friday.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Documents including fake IDs and telephones were seized, but not weapons.

A spokesman for the state prosecutor said that there were "plans for possible attacks in Germany, concrete for Berlin".

According to German media, targets could have included Checkpoint Charlie, a former crossing point between East and West Berlin visited frequently by tourists, and Alexanderplatz, Berlin's central square. Police were deployed on both sides Thursday.

The suspects were under surveillance, and police and intelligence services decided to act after they appeared to stop communicating with each other.

"As they did not speak about the attack, we could fear that their plan was finalised," a security official was quoted as saying by the Tagesspiegel.

The newspaper said that orders for attacks in Berlin were given by Islamic State (IS) leaders, the same who ordered the Paris attacks in November.

One of the two men arrested, a 26-year old Algerian, was already wanted by Algerian authorities for his involvement in IS. The German press agency DPA also said he recently went to Molenbeek, the Brussels neighbourhood where several Paris attackers lived.

According to the Berliner Zeitung, he came from Syria through the Balkans and Bavaria and was registered as a refugee. He was arrested in a refugee centre in Attendorn, 80 km from Cologne.

Critics

The arrest, and the reported use of refugee status, could fuel the controversy over the German government's migration policy.

Germany's intelligence chief said in the Berliner Zeitung Friday that his services received more than 100 tips-off about IS fighters among refugees, and that many of them proved to be defamation.

On Thursday, chancellor Angela Merkel came under more pressure to change the course of her policy.

The leader of the Saxony-Anhalt region, Reiner Haseloff from Merkel's CDU party, said there was "at the moment a loss of control that is no longer acceptable".

A poll published this week by ARD television said that 81 percent of Germans now think that the government doesn't control the situation.

Former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder also critised Merkel on Thursday. In a meeting of his SPD party, he said he would never have used the phrase "we can make it" which Merkel repeated many times since the start of the migrant crisis.

"I would have said: 'We can make it when we are ready to face the challenges'," Schroeder said.

Terrorism shakes Europe

Attacks in Paris, Copenhagen and the Thalys train have revealed a lack of cooperation between member states and put the Schengen area under pressure.

EU scrambles meeting over border chaos

The European Commission has called for a meeting this week with EU state experts, following border chaos after the launch of new rules that require systematic checks of EU citizens at the Schengen zone's external borders.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary's Orban will participate in EU parliament debate
  2. Malta floats cash-for-refugees plan
  3. Ivanka Trump to meet Merkel at Berlin women's conference
  4. Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in 20 years
  5. Nord Stream 2 to get €4.8bn from European energy firms
  6. Defeated Fillon retires from French politics
  7. Hollande: Vote Macron to avoid 'risk' for France
  8. Italy misses deadline on air quality warning

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  3. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  4. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  5. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  6. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  7. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  8. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  10. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  11. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  12. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children

Latest News

  1. Russische schwarze Kassen bedrohen EU Demokratie
  2. Libya commanders in Brussels for migration talks
  3. Mixed review for EU asylum spots in Greece and Italy
  4. France still anxious over possibility of Le Pen win
  5. Free wifi plan backed by MEP committee
  6. Report: Germany blocks post-Dieselgate reform
  7. Russia suspected of Macron hack
  8. EU to exclude financial services from post-Brexit deal