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CRIME

Germany arrests five men over suspected IS terror plot

German police have arrested five Tajik nationals on suspicion that they were members of an Islamic State group terror cell that had been planning attacks on US forces stationed in Germany, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Germany arrests five men over suspected IS terror plot
The entrance to Germany's Federal Court. Photo: DPA

Four of the suspects were arrested after dawn raids on Wednesday targeting
several apartments and six other locations in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Another Tajik national was previously detained.

The five were also allegedly planning attacks on individuals they deemed critical of Islam, prosecutors in the city of Karlsruhe said.

The suspects — named as Azizjon B., Muhammadali G., Farhodshoh K.,
Sunatullokh K. and Ravsan B. — are accused of joining the Islamic State group in January 2019 and initially planning to carry out attacks in Tajikistan.

READ ALSO: Man handed 10 year jail term for biological bomb plot in Germany

They then switched their focus to Germany after receiving instructions from two high-ranking IS leaders in Syria and Afghanistan, prosecutors said.

The five men had been planning to attack targets including US air bases and had already ordered bomb parts online, as well as stocking up on firearms and ammunition.

They also planned an assassination attempt on a person they believed had
expressed Islam-critical views in public, and had already begun spying on the intended victim, prosecutors said.

Two of the suspects are also accused of travelling to Albania to carry out an assassination attempt in exchange for $40,000. However, the project failed and they returned to Germany.

Warning

Germany has long warned of the threat of more violence ahead after several attacks claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, the bloodiest of which was a truck rampage through a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016 that left 12 people dead.

In June 2018, German police said they foiled what would have been the first biological attack with the arrest of a Tunisian suspected IS supporter in possession of the deadly poison ricin and bomb-making material.

More recently, police in the western city of Offenbach arrested three men in November 2019 for allegedly planning a bomb attack in the name of IS.

READ ALSO: German police arrest three suspects over 'planned terrorism attack near Frankfurt'

That same month, a Syrian was arrested in Berlin accused of having procured key components for an explosive device and discussing bomb-making tips with
other suspected Islamists in an online chat group.

Germany's security services estimate there are around 11,000 Islamic radicals in Germany, some 680 of whom are deemed particularly dangerous and capable of using violence — a five-fold increase since 2013.

Germany remains a target for jihadist groups, in particular because of its
involvement in the coalition fighting IS in Iraq and Syria, and its deployment
in Afghanistan since 2001.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has allowed in more than one million asylum seekers since 2015 — a decision that has driven the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which charges that the influx spells a heightened security risk.

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  1. “Germany’s security services estimate there are around 11,000 Islamic radicals in Germany, some 680 of whom are deemed particularly dangerous and capable of using violence — a five-fold increase since 2013.“. And who invited them?

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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