Four Syrians Arrested Over Possible Attack in Germany

BERLIN (AP) -
Dusseldorf, View on Rhine river, Oberkasseler bridge, Old Town and modern districts from Rheinturm tower, Germany
A view of Dusseldorf on Rhine river, Germany.

Prosecutors say three Syrian men suspected of planning an attack in Düsseldorf for the Islamic State terror group have been arrested in Germany. They say a fourth Syrian suspect, who informed officials in Paris about the plot, was already in custody in France.

The federal prosecutor’s office said the three men were arrested in three different German states on Thursday.

It said in a statement that the plan called for two suicide attackers to blow themselves up in central Düsseldorf and then for further terrorists to kill as many people as possible with firearms and explosives.

However, they said there were no indications that they had started with concrete preparations.

The three men arrested in Germany were identified as Hamza C., 27; Mahood B., 25; and Abd Arahman A. K., 31. The suspect in custody in France was identified as Saleh A., 25, also from Syria. Their full names weren’t released in keeping with German privacy rules.

Prosecutors said that Saleh A. and Hamza C. joined IS in Syria in 2014 and got instructions from the group’s leadership to carry out an attack in Düsseldorf.

The two traveled to Turkey in May 2014 with IS approval, they added. In March and July 2015, they traveled separately via Greece to Germany.

The pair convinced Mahood B. to join the plot at some point before January this year, prosecutors said.

Also in January, Saleh A. contacted Abd Arahman A. K., who had traveled to Germany in October 2014 with instructions from IS to take part in the attack. According to prosecutors, Abd Arahman A. K. — who previously made suicide vests and grenades for the Nusra Front terror group in Syria — was supposed to make the suicide vests.

The plot was thwarted when Saleh A. went to prosecutors in Paris Feb. 1 with details of the plan. He has been in custody in France since. Prosecutors said that they will seek his extradition.

Prosecutors stressed that the arrests are not related to a world event, which begins in France next week.

Germany so far has been spared mass-casualty attacks by Islamic terrorists of the type seen in France and Belgium over recent months.