Angela Merkel thanks Syrian man who helped catch terror suspect

German chancellor gives 'thanks and recognition' after Syrian man and friend tie up suspect and call police 

Benjamin Kentish
Monday 10 October 2016 18:27 BST
Syrian Jaber Al-Bakr is suspected of planning a terror attack in Germany
Syrian Jaber Al-Bakr is suspected of planning a terror attack in Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has thanked a Syrian man for helping catch a dangerous terror suspect believed to be planning a bomb attack.

The unnamed man and a friend overpowered and tied up their compatriot, who was on the run from police after 1.5 kilograms of explosives were found at his flat in the city of Chemnitz. The pair informed police of his whereabouts and the suspect was arrested in Leipzig in the early hours, ending a two-day manhunt.

Ms Merkel’s 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 suspect, 22-year-old Jaber Albakr, went on the run on Saturday after police raided his apartment and found explosives they said were “more dangerous than TNT”.

Police believe he was planning an attack similar to those carried out in France and Belgium in late 2015 and March 2016.

“According to what we know, the preparations in Chemnitz are similar to the preparations for the attacks in Paris and Brussels”, said German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

He suggested the behaviour of the suspect makes it likely he has links to the so-called Islamic State.

Reports suggest Albakr had built a “a virtual bomb-making lab” in his flat and manufactured explosives that “could have caused enormous damage”.

According to German broadcaster ARB, the two Syrian men invited Albakr to their apartment after he approached them asking for help at Leipzig train station. However, they realised their guest was being sought by police after detectives broadcast a witness appeal in Arabic.

They then tied the fugitive to a sofa and called police, who stormed the apartment. They found one of the men kneeling on Albakr to stop him escaping.

Police announced on Twitter: “Tired but overjoyed: we captured the terror suspect last night in Leipzig.”

It comes after tensions in Germany at the number of Syrian refugees the country has granted asylum to. Ms Merkel has won praise from many for her humanitarian response to the refugee crisis, but opponents claim Germany cannot cope with any more refugees.

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