Syrian bomb suspect arrested
Germany’s police have been kept busy with asylum issues. Source: Wikipedia
A Syrian teenager has been arrested in Germany for allegedly planning a bomb attack on behalf of so-called Islamic State, according to the police.
The 16-year-old, named only as Mohamed J under child privacy laws, was arrested at a refugee hostel in Cologne. Police said he had been in contact with an Isis handler in West Asia who told him how to make a bomb and where to lay it.
The arrest came shortly after the German home affairs ministry warned that militant sympathisers were targeting young migrants as potential recruits. “We had to act decisively to protect the population,” said Jürgen Mathies of Cologne police.
Police were first alerted to changes in the boy’s behaviour in June by his mosque. “It was reported that the boy was behaving weirdly, he would only eat fruit, anything else was unclean,” Mathies said. “He was also praying more. He would face in a different direction than is usual for Muslim prayer.”
This month the mosque contacted the police again to say the teenager was spending hours praying and communicating with someone using instant messaging.
After monitoring the cellphone and online activity, the police found he was in contact with an Islamic State handler, who was advising on how to build a bomb. The Washington Post’s database of fatal police shootings, 990 people were killed in the US last year while in 10 people were killed by German police, according the Funke Mediengruppe, quoting the German Police University.
The US is roughly four times that of Germany, meaning fatal police shootings in the USA is about 100 times greater.
Around 706 people were killed by the US police so far this year, according to the Post and by January 5, 13 people had been killed: more than Germany’s total for all of 2015.
The Funke Mediengruppe said seven people were killed in 2014. Those injured by the German police dropped from 30 people in 2014 to 22 last year. In the US, about three people per day were killed last year.
German police protocol demands that any use of a firearm be investigated to assess whether the action was proportionate to the threat. Funke Mediengruppe said weapons were usually used in self defence.
Debate was sparked in July about the decision to kill a 17-year-old from Afghanistan who attacked passengers on a train with an axe in Würzburg, Bavaria.
One Green party politician caused controversy when she questioned why the officers had not tried to disable the assailant. Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann praised the officers’ attempt to prevent “further terrible acts”.