- Investigators believe Albakr was planning an attack on Berlin airport
- Two Syrians tied Albakr to a sofa and alerted police to his whereabouts
A spokesperson at the ministry confirmed to CNN Thursday that 22-year-old Jaber Albakr had taken his life in a correctional facility in Leipzig, but gave no further details.
Investigators believe that Albakr, who arrived in Germany last year, was close to staging a terrorist attack. German police have said that Albakr’s “approach and behavior” suggest an ISIS link.
Germany’s Spiegel Online reported that Albakr had been under round-the-clock surveillance in police custody in Leipzig and was considered at risk of suicide and hunger strike. It was not yet clear how he had killed himself, Spiegel said.
Arrest attempt questioned
Albakr was arrested after two Syrians tied the suspect to a sofa in their flat in Leipzig and alerted police.
In a raid on an apartment in the city of Chemnitz on Saturday , which appeared to be Albakr’s home, police discovered a mix of explosives weighing 1.5 kg that they described as more dangerous than TNT. The German prosecutor’s office said the mix could cause significant damage in small amounts.
Police carried out a controlled explosion to gain access to the apartment.
Among the materials found was what police suspected to be TATP, or acetone peroxide, which was used in recent terror attacks in Brussels and Paris, Saxony’s crime office said.
Albakr’s capture ended a manhunt that lasted almost two days, and the manner of his arrest has raised questions about whether police botched an attempt on Saturday to detain him. CNN was not able to immediately contact the police Thursday.
Markus Ulbig, Saxony state’s interior minister, said that Albakr had come to Germany as an asylum-seeker in February 2015. A year later, he formally asked for asylum, which was granted in June this year.
German Chancellor Merkel has come under intense political pressure for her open-door policy on refugees. German officials said the country welcomed more than 1 million refugees in 2015 alone, many of them Syrians fleeing the war in their country.
There have been several low-impact attacks in Germany this year carried out by refugees, prompting Merkel’s administration to tighten security measures.
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