Anti-terror investigators arrested a 32-year-old in the Ruhr area who is said to have prepared an Islamist attack. The investigators searched the apartment of the Iranian national in Castrop-Rauxel on Sunday night. The man is suspected of having obtained the toxins cyanide and ricin for an act, said the Düsseldorf public prosecutor, the Recklinghausen police and the Münster police during the night.
The man was reportedly taken into custody with another man. It was initially unclear how far the attack plans had progressed and whether there was already a concrete target for the attack. "We had serious information that prompted the police to intervene that night. The authorities are now investigating at full speed," said North Rhine-Westphalia's Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) in the morning of the German Press Agency. No further information was initially given about the second man.
According to a report by "Bild", employees of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) were also on site as consultants because of the biological and chemical dangers for the emergency services. Several employees of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and a defuse commando were also deployed. The BKA did not want to comment on the operation and referred to the Attorney General's Office.
According to the RKI, the highly toxic ricin is listed under "biological weapons" in the war weapons list. Cyanide is also highly toxic, even the smallest amounts are fatal to humans.
"The accused is suspected of having prepared a serious act of violence that is dangerous to the state," the authorities said. It has not yet been decided whether the Iranian will be brought before a magistrate. The procedure is being conducted by the North Rhine-Westphalia Central Office for the Prosecution of Terrorism at the Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor's Office.
Tips from "friend secret service"
The 32-year-old and the second man taken into custody were only scantily dressed and led across the street into an emergency vehicle, eyewitnesses reported. Neither of them resisted. According to a WDR report, the two men are said to be brothers.
According to information from "Bild", the Federal Criminal Police Office has been investigating the Iranian for several days. A "friend of the secret service" is said to have warned the German security authorities about the danger of a chemical bomb attack.
Four years ago, investigations in Cologne showed just how dangerous ricin is: in a 15-story building in the high-rise district of Chorweiler, a Tunisian and his German wife produced the chemical and set off test explosions. A foreign secret service became suspicious about online purchases of large quantities of castor seeds and gave a tip. Both were sentenced to long prison terms. An expert report showed that, purely arithmetically, 13,500 people could have died from the amount of poison. With the planned spread by a cluster bomb spiked with steel balls, it would have killed around 200 people.