Calls for Syrian ‘heroes’ to be honoured
Berlin Tegel airport might have been Jaber Albakr’s target. Source: Wikimedia
“The young men deserve the Federal Cross of Merit,” Social Democrat defence spokesman Johannes Kahrs told Bild, referring to Germany’s highest civilian honour. “What they’ve done is proof of their deep respect for their host country, Germany… It’s hard to imagine greater integration. This is exemplary.”
A Syrian refugee was reported to be amassing explosives in his flat in the eastern town of Chemnitz on Saturday.
The arrival of an estimated 890,000 refugees in 2015 has brought tensions, especially in the ex-communist east when two Isis-linked attacks hit Germany in July carried out by Syrian refugees.
But suspect Jaber Albakr was turned in to the police by three of his compatriots, who are also asylum seekers.
Bild described the three as “the Syrian heroes from Leipzig” and asked if they would be fast-tracked to become German citizens.
By Wednesday, more than 23,000 people had signed a change.org petition calling on the state of Saxony to honour them.
The Syrians invited Albakr, 22, to stay at their flat state capital Leipzig before they realised that he was on the run from the authorities, who on Saturday raided his apartment and found 1.5kg of TATP home-made explosive used in the Paris and Brussels attacks.
After seeing the police appeals in Arabic on Facebook, the Syrians overpowered Albakr, tied him up and called the emergency services.
Albakr had offered them money to free him, they said.
“He tried to bribe us, but we told him he could give us as much money as he wanted, we wouldn’t free him,” one of the men, identified only as Mohamed A to avoid reprisals, told RTL television.
“Then we got an electrical cord and tied him up until the police got there,” he said. “I was furious with him, I couldn’t accept something like this, especially here in Germany, the country that opened its doors to us. Because I don’t speak German it took time to explain to them. In the end I showed them the pictures and they knew what I was on about and they came and arrested him.”
Three Americans who tackled an attacker on a French train in 2015 were awarded the Legion of Honour, the country’s highest medal. France granted citizenship to an undocumented refugee from Mali, Lassana Bathily, after he saved shoppers’ lives during an attack on a Jewish supermarket in Paris last year.