Anis Amri acquaintance charged with bomb plot in Germany

German prosecutors have formally charged a Russian Islamist and acquaintance of Berlin Christmas market attacker Anis Amri with plotting an explosives attack, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Anis Amri acquaintance charged with bomb plot in Germany
Magomed-Ali C was detained last year. Photo: DPA

The suspect, identified as Magomed-Ali C., 31, had planned an attack with Tunisian Amri, who went on to kill 12 people in his 2016 truck rampage at the market, and French jihadist Clement Baur.

Magomed-Ali C.– who according to news site Zeit Online hails from the Russian Caucasus republic of Dagestan — had allegedly kept TATP, a volatile explosive dubbed “mother of Satan”, in a Berlin flat in October 2016.

SEE ALSO: Chechen terror suspect arrested in Berlin 

The Russian national was arrested in Berlin in August 2018 and formally charged last Monday, February 25th, with preparing a serious act of subversive violence, prosecutors said in a statement.

His joint plan with Baur, who has been jailed in France, had allegedly been to carry out “an Islamist attack in Germany to kill or maim as many people as possible” in order “to create a climate of fear and uncertainty”.

SEE ALSO: Extra security measures in place for terror-hit Berlin Christmas market

Planned Germany attack

The Russian — who had come to Germany as an asylum seeker in 2011, already a militant Islamist — is believed to have first met Baur in Belgium in 2013.

By 2015, Magomed-Ali C. allegedly wanted to join the Islamic State group in Syria but was barred from leaving Germany after police in June alerted the immigration department.

He then planned to launch an attack within Germany and in July 2015 asked Baur to come to Berlin to help him.

The two met Amri that year in Berlin's Fussilet 33 mosque, which was later shuttered by authorities as a suspected meeting place for radical Islamists.

The two temporarily broke off contact with Amri when the Tunisian drew heightened police attention in February 2016.

C. and Baur then either procured or produced the TATP in October 2016 and kept it in the Berlin flat, prosecutors charge.

Another police action, on October 26, 2016, however interrupted their planning and led Baur to flee for France.

Amri in December committed the market attack and was killed days later by an Italian police officer.

Baur and another suspect were arrested in Marseille on April 18, 2017 accused of plotting an attack shortly before French elections.

French police found an IS flag, a loaded Uzi sub-machine gun, two pistols, a homemade grenade and TATP in an apartment.

Zeit Online reported that German police never found the TATP in the Berlin flat, and that prosecutors had based their charge primarily on tapped phone calls.

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WWII bomb found in Frankfurt safely detonated after mass evacuation

A massive World War II bomb found in Germany's financial capital Frankfurt was safely detonated in the early hours of Thursday, the city's fire service said, allowing tens of thousands of evacuated residents to return to their homes.

WWII bomb found in Frankfurt safely detonated after mass evacuation
Experts stand on mountains of sand, which were put in place to soften the force of the explosion of the WWII bomb in Frankfurt's Nordend. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The 500-kilogram unexploded bomb was unearthed during construction work on Wednesday in the densely populated Nordend area of the city, a location firefighters said made it a “particular challenge” to remove.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper reported the ordnance had been discovered right next to a children’s playground at a depth of about two metres (6.5 feet).

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

Its report said the controlled blast, which happened just after midnight, “sounded like thunder rumbling” and left a hole three metres deep and ten metres wide.

Firefighters said that they had covered the bomb with 40 truckloads of sand before detonating it, in order to minimise damage to the surrounding buildings.

Around 25,000 people had been asked to evacuate the area, including the occupants of a nearby community hospital’s neonatal ward.

Among residents who took shelter at a skating rink was 29-year-old Tobias, carrying his pet cat in a cage.

He said he had heard the news over a police loudspeaker and been ordered to leave his home immediately, causing a “bit of stress”.

Barbara, 77, told AFP the news was “a bit of a shock, we don’t expect that”.

However, building works in Germany regularly unearth unexploded World War II ordnance, 76 years after the conflict’s end.

Seven bombs were defused in 2020 on land near Berlin where Tesla plans to build its first factory in Europe for electric cars.  

READ ALSO: WWII bomb in Frankfurt triggers 30m high water fountain

Other bombs were also discovered last year in Frankfurt, Cologne, and Dortmund.

In Frankfurt, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in 2017 led to the removal of 65,000 people, the biggest such evacuation in Europe since 1945.