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Syrian-born man suspected of planning bomb attack in Germany, trail goes cold

A manhunt by German police in search of a Syrian refugee suspected of planning a bomb attack after a cache of explosives was found in apartment.

9 October 2016, 2:53pm
German special police officers search the eastern City of Chemnitz on suspicion that a planned bomb attack was being planned in Germany.
German special police officers search the eastern City of Chemnitz on suspicion that a planned bomb attack was being planned in Germany.
The trail went cold on Sunday in a German police manhunt for a Syrian refugee suspected of planning a bomb attack after a raid on an apartment in which a cache of explosives was found.

“We are following numerous tips, but unfortunately we don't have a hot lead yet," said Tom Bernhardt, spokesman for the Saxony state criminal investigation office. "We must continue to assume that this person poses a danger.”

German police are hunting for Syrian-born Jaber Albakr, 22, after Saturday’s apartment raid in the eastern German city of Chemnitz. They described him as wearing a black hooded top with a bright pattern on the front, and warned people to be careful of him.

Albakr had been in Germany since last year and was officially recognized as a refugee, Bernhardt said.

A security source told Reuters that there was some evidence indicating the Syrian had Islamist leanings. "But this doesn't automatically mean we are talking about IS (Islamic State). This could also be a case of self-radicalization via the Internet."

"The search for the suspect is ongoing," Saxony state police tweeted. "At the moment, however, we do not know where he is and what he is carrying with him. Be careful."

He was not previously known to police, who raided the flat after a tip-off from the domestic intelligence service.

Police have begun investigating a second Syrian who rented the apartment that was raided and was known to Albakr. He was detained in Chemnitz on Saturday on suspicion of involvement in preparing a bomb attack with Albakr, Bernhardt said.

“Questioning (of the detainees) is continuing. The results are still to come,” said Tom Bernhardt.

Bernhardt said police did not immediately find the several hundred grams of explosives when searching the apartment as they were well hidden.

Hundreds of police including specialist commandos combed a residential area in Chemnitz looking for Albakr.

The police deployment followed a tip-off from the domestic intelligence service, though the "where, when, how and why" of the planned attack remained unclear, said Bernhardt.

Police asked local residents to remain indoors and began evacuating more people after discovering the explosives. Bernhardt said it was unclear how many suspects might be involved.

In late July, Islamic State claimed responsibility for attacks on a train near Wuerzburg and at a music festival in Ansbach which wounded 20 people.