Explosive material discovered in German flat was the same home-made substance used by Paris and Brussels attackers


From AFP via the South China Post and AP via Yahoo News

German police were carrying out a huge manhunt for a 22-year-old Syrian suspected of planning a bomb attack, after finding “highly explosive” materials in his apartment. Security has been boosted at Berlin’s two airports and at train stations in the capital.

The suspect, Jaber Albakr, could have had “an Islamist motive”, police sources said. German news agency DPA, citing security sources, reported that Albakr had links to Islamic State (IS). The magazine Focus reported that he was suspected of plotting to attack an airport.

Police said “several hundred grams” of an “explosive substance even more dangerous than TNT” were found in Albakr’s apartment in the eastern city of Chemnitz, about 260km south of Berlin. “Even a small quantity of this substance could have caused enormous damage,” police said.

The local Freie Presse newspaper said the substance was TATP, the home-made explosive used by IS terrorists in the Paris and Brussels attacks.A spokesman for Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said Albakr, who arrived last year as a refugee, had been under surveillance. Investigators raised the alarm on Friday, sparking Saturday’s raid. Three people with links to Albakr have been arrested in Chemnitz.

Saxony police spokesman Tom Bernhardt told reporters the explosives were found by investigators who combed carefully through the apartment, which was raided midday. “They were not just lying out on the kitchen table, they were relatively well hidden,” he said.

About 100 people were evacuated from the five-story apartment building in Chemnitz as the bomb squad removed the explosives, which were not considered stable enough to move far. They were then destroyed in a controlled detonation, police said.

Saxony police …released a photo of a dark-haired man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and said he was last seen wearing similar clothes. “We have to assume that he is dangerous,” Bernhardt said.

Neighbors reported hearing an explosion during the raid, but that was the police team blowing open the apartment door, police spokeswoman Kathlen Zink told The Associated Press.

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