Chemnitz bombing plot: German police capture Syrian refugee over 'planned terror attack'

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The Independent Online

German police have detained a 22-year-old Syrian man suspected of preparing a bomb attack following a nationwide hunt.

Police in the eastern state of Saxony tweeted on Monday that Jaber Albakr was detained overnight in Leipzig.

Albakr, from the Damascus area of Syria, escaped the authorities on Saturday during a raid of his apartment in nearby Chemnitz. 

Investigators said they found "several hundred grams" of a volatile explosive hidden there.

The raid came after Saxony police were given a tip from Germany's domestic intelligence service that Albakr may be planning an attack.

German media has reported that Albakr is believed to be connected to Islamic extremist groups.

Security remains high in the country after two terror attacks by Isis supporters earlier this year, with a Syrian refugee blowing himself up in Ansbach and an Afghan teenager attacking train passengers with an axe in Würzburg.

More than a million asylum seekers arrived in Germany last year, when Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the borders to Syrians fleeing the country's brutal civil war.

The decision has been heavily criticised by right-wing and anti-immigration groups gaining increasing popularity amid concern over terrorism and the mass sexual assaults in Cologne.

Europol estimates that up to 5,000 European jihadis may have undergone training at terror camps, with an unknown number exploiting refugee routes to return the continent as it faces its “biggest terror threat in more than a decade”.

Earlier this year, police said they were investigating more than 400 tip-offs over migrants alleged to have extremist links in Germany.