The overnight arrest of Jaber A. ended a nearly two-day nationwide search for the 22-year-old that German authorities launched after finding several pounds of explosives and components hidden inside an apartment in the eastern city of Chemnitz on Saturday.
Jaber A. arrived in Germany amid a flood of 890,000 asylum seekers last year. Saxony criminal police chief Joerg Michaelis said that the three Syrians who captured him recognised the suspect from wanted posters police posted online as part of the manhunt.
After taking him to their apartment late Sunday night, two of the Syrians bound and held Jaber A. while the third brought a mobile phone photo of the suspect to a local police station, leading to the arrest early Monday, Michaelis said.
Prosecutors and police said Monday that they considered Jaber A. an extremist with likely links to theIslamic State (IS) group. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency had been watching him since September and alerted Saxony authorities about his alleged possible plot on Friday, authorities said.
When police raided the apartment in the city of Chemnitz where he was thought to be staying on Saturday, Jaber A. was able to flee. Inside the apartment they found 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of “extremely dangerous explosives” and components, according to federal prosecutors.
Criminal police chief Michaelis said that, at this stage of the investigation, “the behaviour and actions of the suspect currently speak for an IS context”. He didn’t elaborate.
A 33-year-old Syrian at whose Chemnitz apartment police found the hidden explosives was arrested over the weekend and is considered a co-conspirator in the alleged bomb plot, prosecutors said.