New York had its Halloween jihad attack today, and Germany narrowly averted one of its own. Below is a press conference about the foiled attack given by Interior Minister Thomas De Maizière. Many thanks to Egri Nök for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:
The following report by Egri Nök was published earlier today at Vlad Tepes in a slightly different form.
Germany: Major Terror Attack foiled just in Time
Suspect a Syrian Refugee
By Egri Nök
An original translation from Die Welt.
Terror suspect wanted to kill as many as possible
- A Syrian was arrested on suspicion of preparing an attack motivated by Islamism. According to the federal prosecutor’s office, he had made up his mind to “kill a number of people, as large as possible”.
- [Interior Minister] Thomas De Maiziere said that the arrest in Schwerin prevented “a grave terror attack”.
A Syrian was arrested in Schwerin on the strong suspicion of preparing an explosives attack, motivated by Islamism. This is what the federal prosecutor’s office announced on Wednesday morning (CET). Special forces of the Federal Police and the Federal Criminal Police Office were deployed in the action.
Additionally, the apartment of the suspect, and more apartments in Schwerin and in Hamburg were being searched, as Welt learned from police sources. One investigator told Welt: “The arrest of this man, particularly on Reformation Day, when there is a large event in Wittenberg with many top politicians, gives food for thought.”
According to investigations, the 19-year-old accused is strongly suspected of having planned, and already concretely prepared, an Islamist-motivated attack in Germany with a highly potent explosive. Apparently the authorities had the young man in their sights for a period of time. Back in July 2017 he had made up his mind to detonate an explosive device in Germany, to injure and kill as large a number of people as possible.
According to information from Die Welt, the Syrian Yamen A. came to Germany in October 2015. Currently, it does not appear that the 19-year-old had come to Germany with an order to prepare an attack. At the moment, [authorities] assume that he radicalized inside the country.
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) accordingly came across suspicious communications on the internet, which led to a Facebook profile. Upon this, according to security authorities, Facebook was asked to disclose the user data of the terror suspect, but it took a while, until the suspect could be identified without doubt, and, finally, localized. The data contained extensive chat communication with a person who is deemed an “IS follower” and who calls himself a “soldier of the Caliphate”. This is congruent with what Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (CDU) said, who pointed out the importance of the internet for the arrest.
The federal prosecutor’s office confirmed early Wednesday afternoon (CET) that the suspect had contact over the internet with a person who called himself “soldier of the Caliphate”. “But we do not know who this person is, and we do not know if he encouraged him (the suspect) in his plans”, said Frauke Köhler, spokesman of the federal prosecutor’s office.
Therefore, at the moment, charges are not laid against the Syrian for membership in a terrorist organization, but for preparing a grave subversive crime [translator: “eine schwere staatsgefährdende Straftat”, a grave subversive crime, is the technical term for a terror attack in German Officialese], Köhler said.
Special forces arrested the 19-year-old Syrian in the early morning hours on suspicion of preparing an Islamist-motivated bomb attack. Apartments are being searched in Schwerin, and in Hamburg.
At the moment, no hints of any membership in a terrorist organization
In July he allegedly began to gather technical components and chemicals that are needed for building an explosive device. It was still unclear if the accused already had a concrete destination for his explosive attack. At the moment, the federal prosecutor’s office does not yet have hints of any membership of the accused in a terrorist organization.
There have been repeated arrests in Germany of suspects who were preparing attacks with an Islamist motive. The latest was the arrest of a 40-year-old last Wednesday in Berlin, whom investigating authorities deem a member of Islamist circles. In July 2016 a 27-year-old Syrian refugee self-detonated on the square in front of a music festival; 15 people were injured.
The office of the federal prosecutor announced a press release on the state of the investigations in the afternoon.
|00:00||Ladies and Gentlemen — Today, the German security authorities successfully|
|00:04||prevented a grave terror attack in Germany.|
|00:09||The arrest came exactly at the right moment:|
|00:13||Late enough to collect the necessary proof,|
|00:18||and early enough to reliably avert the danger.|
|00:22||The federal criminal office has been leading the investigations for weeks;|
|00:27||the federal office for the protection of the constitution was very helpful;|
|00:31||the cooperation with the federal states was very, very important and successful.|
|00:37||One of the decisive factors in this case was that the German security authorities knew|
|00:42||what the suspect did online, especially the orders that he made online,|
|00:51||to be able to, allegedly, build bombs with them.|
|00:56||The work of the security authorities deserves great praise,|
|01:02||I feel very relieved today; and I would like to cordially thank|
|01:06||the officers of the security services of the country and the states,|
|01:11||and also our international partners for their cooperation.|
|01:16||The terrorist threat in Germany and in Europe remains at an unchanged high.|
|01:21||Today is an example of that. The security authorities will remain vigilant.|
|01:28||Two, three follow-up questions. —A single perpetrator; or what can you tell us about him?|
|01:32||Investigators will have to look into this.|
|01:35||In the search, mobile phones and means of communication were seized.|
|01:42||Currently, there is no established relationship — yet —|
|01:48||to international organizations; but this may, of course, surface during the investigations.|
|01:53||[Reporters, interrupting each other: “You spoke of —.” — “Since when?”]|
|01:57||Since summer. —You spoke of international cooperation at the apprehension of the suspect.|
|02:03||How are we to understand that?|
|02:06||The partners who help us in cases like this appreciate that we do not name them.|
|02:13||Do you know of a concrete place to carry out the attack?|
|02:17||The investigations will have to show this. The suspect was often in Hamburg.|
|02:26||Even though he resides in Schwerin. That is why there were raids in Hamburg, too.|
|02:31||The Federal State’s Attorney will give more details.