Anti-terror investigators have arrested a man in the Ruhr area who is said to have prepared an Islamist attack. The investigators searched the 32-year-old's apartment in Castrop-Rauxel during the night. The Iranian national is suspected of having obtained the toxins cyanide and ricin for the crime, said the Düsseldorf public prosecutor, the Recklinghausen police and the Münster police early on Sunday morning.
The 32-year-old was reportedly taken into custody along 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.
In the morning, the police ended their work in the searched apartment for the time being. Only a few hours after the access, there was nothing left of the use of the special forces on the house in a small shopping street. A window in the searched apartment on the first floor was slightly open, no lights were on anywhere. Patrol cars occasionally drove past the building. Revelers who passed the building reacted in disbelief when they learned of the large-scale operation around midnight.
Lots of special forces
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 investigators struck around midnight. The scene was cordoned off over a wide area. Police, fire brigade and rescue workers were on site with a large contingent. Many emergency services wore protective suits. Evidence was brought in blue barrels to a decontamination point set up by the fire department, a dpa reporter reported.
Tips from "friend secret service"
"The accused is suspected of having prepared a serious act of violence that is dangerous to the state," said the investigators. "The search serves to find corresponding toxins and other evidence." The 32-year-old and the second man taken into custody were led across the street into an emergency vehicle in underwear and a T-shirt or with a makeshift jacket thrown on, eyewitnesses reported. Neither of them resisted. According to a WDR report, the two men are said to be brothers.
"Evidence was secured and is being evaluated," wrote the investigative authorities. It has not yet been decided whether the 32-year-old 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.
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.