Isis suspect 'scouted out Brandenburg Gate and German parliament' for possible terror attack on Berlin

Syrian man, 19, held in custody as police investigate alleged plot coordinated in Syria

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The Independent Online

A teenage Isis supporter scouted out some of Germany’s most iconic buildings and monuments for a prospective attack, officials have said.

The 19-year-old Syrian man, who has not been identified, was arrested in March for suspected links to the so-called Islamic State after the alleged plans were uncovered.

Judges at the Federal Court of Justice ruled the man could be held for three more months to allow investigators to continue their work on Thursday, amid fears he could be part of a wider network plotting terror attacks.

In its decision, the court said the suspect had scouted out sites including the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag parliament building and Alexanderplatz square for potential attacks over several months.

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Another Syrian man was arrested for planning a terror attack in Berlin in October (EPA)

Having arrived in Germany as an asylum seeker in August 2015, he was believed to have been gathering detailed information for Isis until February this about the number of people and tourist buses in different areas.

A court document said intelligence was transmitted to an Isis contact in Syria using a smartphone.

Through electronic messages he also offered to act as a contact for potential attackers in Germany, “commit a non-specified attack” himself “or alternatively with two unknown people” officials said.

Investigators examined four mobile phones and data cards seized during his arrest, and had so far reviewed more than 37,000 text messages and chats, nearly 13,000 visual images and around 9,800 video images, according to the court document.

Investigators believe the man had worked with Isis in Syria since 2013, and maintained contact with the jihadist group using his mobile phone after arriving in Germany.

He also planned to return to Syria, where his parents, wife and son still live, to fight in the conflict there, according to the court document. 

Another Syrian man, Jaber al-Bakr, was arrested on suspicion of planning a major bombing at a Berlin airport in October but killed himself in prison days later.

Authorities did not confirm whether there was any link between al-Bakr and the 19-year-old currently in custody.

Germany remains on heightened alert after a suicide bombing by a Syrian Isis supporter and axe attack on a train, both in July.

Earlier this year, a German-born former Isis fighter told The Independent he had been asked to return to his home country and carry out a terror attack by commanders in Raqqa last year.

Harry Sarfo said Isis leaders were specifically looking for recruits to attack the UK and Germany, having already set up networks in other targeted nations.

Police arrested five members of a network accused of radicalising German Muslims and sending them to fight for Isis in Syria on Tuesday.

Let by an extremist preacher known as Abu Walaa, the group is accused of using a mosque and Islamic school in the city of Hildesheim to “create the ideological and linguistic foundations for future activity with Isis”, then organising recruits’ travel to its territories.

Also on Tuesday, a court in Frankfurt sentenced a 30-year-old German man to eight years in prison for war crimes and membership of Isis.

The court said the man, identified only as Abdelkarim E, fought for the group in Syria in 2013 and 2014.

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