Wednesday

28th Jun 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.

Slovenia and Croatia reignite border dispute

Croatia said it would not apply a ruling to be delivered by the international arbitration court on Thursday. Slovenia appeals to the EU to pressure its neighbour.

Luxembourg not a tax haven, claims PM

The prime minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, maintains that his country had broken no rules and committed no crime when issuing rulings that slashed global tax bills for the big firms.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEGet the Latest News from the 2017 Estonian EU Council Presidency @EU2017EE
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Talks Should Insist on Ending Reprisals Against Critical Voices
  3. European Free AllianceEFA Is Looking for a New Intern
  4. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  6. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  7. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  8. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  9. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  10. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  11. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  12. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million