German police capture Syrian wanted for planned terror attack

German police on Monday detained Jaber Albakr, the 22-year-old Syrian who was the subject of a nationwide hunt and is believed to have been the mastermind of a bomb attack planned on a German target.

Authorities on Saturday raided Albakr’s apartment in nearby Chemnitz. Investigators found “several hundred grams” of a volatile explosive hidden in the apartment, enough to cause significant damage.

The raid came after Saxony police were tipped by Germany’s domestic intelligence service that Albakr was planning an attack. He had been under the agency’s surveillance.

Albakr narrowly escaped the weekend raid. As police prepared to raid the apartment building, he was observed leaving the premises. Police fired a warning shot, but failed to stop him.

During the manhunt, German security forces increased security around the country, especially around “critical infrastructure” like train stations and airports.

Experts are trying to determine whether the explosives found in the apartment were the same ones used in the November 13 attacks in Paris, which left 132 victims dead, and the March 22 attacks in Brussels, which left 32 victims dead.

The explosives used in those attacks are known as TATP, or triacetone triperoxide. TATP has been used in many attacks over the years, and is favored by terror organizations because it is fairly easy to make and detonate.

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German media reported that Albakr is believed to be connected to Islamic terrorist groups, but Saxony police have not commented on his possible motive or the bomb plot’s target.

Authorities did concede that Albakr had come to Germany in the flood of 890,000 migrants who entered the country in 2015 and had been granted asylum. International security agencies have long feared that the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group has sent sleeper cells to Europe, using the flow of migrants as cover to enter the continent undetected.

Germany has been on edge and on high alert after two terror attacks this summer which were claimed by ISIS and which left multiple people injured. Two other attacks unrelated to Islamic terrorism have also contributed to the anxiety.

By: World Israel News Staff
AP contributed to this report.