Mayor of Leipzig thanks Syrian men who helped catch bomb suspect

The men use electrical cords to tie up Jaber al-Bakr and then alert the authorities 

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Three Syrians who aided German police in capturing a fugitive wanted in connection to an alleged extremist bomb plot have been hailed as heroes. 

Jaber al-Bakr was handed to police on Monday after three fellow Syrians alerted the authorities after tying him up and holding him until police arrived in the eastern city of Leipzig. 

The police had been looking for 22-year-old Mr Bakr, who had been on the run for two days, after raiding a flat in Chemnitz and finding several hundred grams of “highly volatile” explosives.

The Mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung, thanked the Syrians, who have remained anonymous to ensure their safety, for their bravery and help. 

"This is an immense success against terrorism and shows that a large majority of the foreigners and asylum seekers who live here want nothing to with this form of radical Islamism," Mr Jung said. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel also paid tribute to the men. Her official spokesperson, Ulrike Demmer, said: “Our thanks and our recognition go out to the man from Syria who informed the police about the suspect's whereabouts.” 

The asylum status of the men remains unknown and Andre Hahn, a prominent politician in the Left party, said they should be granted asylum in recognition of their bravery. 

"That would be very important for all honest refugees who need help and who in their absolute majority have nothing to do with the self-styled Islamic State or any terrorist activities," Mr Hahn told Rundfunk radio.  

Mr Bakr met his fellow countrymen after he posted online looking for a place to stay while on the run, German newspaper Bild reported. 

One of the men, only identified as Mohamed A., told the newspaper they tied up Mr Bakr with electric cords and he was williing to give them money to let him go. 

"He offered us 1,000 euros (£903) and $200 (£163) if we let him go. He had that in a backpack together with a knife

“I am so grateful to Germany for taking us in. We could not allow him to do something to Germans," the Syrian man said.

Investigators think Mr Bakr may have been considering airports as potential targets, according to German media. Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of the domestic intelligence agency, told ZDF television it received information in early September that Isis was planning “attacks on infrastructure, stations and airports, in western Europe, particularly Germany.” 

Following the “abstract” tip, Mr Maassen said German authorities “generated a lot of information ourselves, and exchanged a lot of information with partners, until we came to this name and this address.” 

Officials are currently investigating whether there are any potential links between the suspect and Isis.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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