Police in Germany have arrested three Iraqi citizens suspected of planning to carry out an attack in the European country, according to a federal prosecutor’s office.
Police authorities identified the detained suspects only as 23-year-olds Shahin F. and Hersh F. and 36-year-old Rauf S.
Police said that they had all been taken into custody in a pre-dawn raid by a police SWAT team in an area near Germany’s border with Denmark called Dithmarschen.
According to an official statement, the three were apparently in the early stages of planning an attack and had neither begun to build a functioning bomb nor decided on a target.
The two younger suspects are accused of plotting a bomb attack and violating weapons laws, while the older is alleged to have assisted them. Shahin F. and Hersch F. allegedly decided to “carry out an attack” in late 2018.
Authorities also said that there were indications the suspects sympathized with the Daesh terrorist group, though a direct link to the outfit or other groups remained under investigation.
In December last year, the statement added, Shahin F. downloaded “various instructions” on how to build a bomb, and then ordered a detonator from a contact person in the United Kingdom. Its delivery, however, was blocked by British law enforcement agencies.
Moreover, the statement said that the younger suspects also carried out tests using explosive powder from New Year’s fireworks and asked Rauf S. to purchase a firearm.
Rauf is also accused of contacting a man identified as Walid Khaled Y.Y. — who had already been under investigation — to procure the gun. He allegedly offered them a Russian semi-automatic Makarov 9mm pistol, but it was considered too expensive and eventually not purchased.
Furthermore, Shahin F. also started taking driving lessons in preparation for the possibility of using a vehicle for their planned attack, prosecutors said.
It was unclear when the suspects originally came to Germany. A spokeswoman for the federal prosecutor, Kerstin Wacker, refused to elaborate beyond the written statement offered to the press.
In the only mass-casualty terror attack in Germany, Tunisian asylum-seeker Anis Amri hijacked a truck in 2016 and drove it into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and wounding dozens. Daesh later claimed responsibility for it.