Chemical Attack Plot Uncovered by German Forces

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On January 8, a chemical plot was uncovered in the city of Castrop-Rauxel, Germany. The suspect is a 32-year-old Iranian citizen who is said to have ties to a Sunni extremist group. He was arrested in his flat before midnight on Saturday, January 7, but authorities did not release news of the capture until mid-afternoon of January 8. 

During the arrest, the brother of the suspect was also detained. The two had been living in Germany since 2015. The investigation was carried out by the SEK. The SEK, (special task force), are police tactical units of each of the 16 German State Police forces. The police were made aware of the possible threat through a tip. According to German media, the tip was made by an allied intelligence agency of the German police. The foreign agency is believed to be the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), however, it is yet to be confirmed. 

In regards to the attack, the suspect had hopes of building a biological weapon and using it on New Year’s Eve. It was planned to be carried out with chemicals such as ricin and cyanide. Cyanide prevents the human body from using oxygen, and ricin disallows the body from obtaining necessary proteins. The two chemicals are therefore lethal and it takes less than six hours for them to start having an effect on the body. 

In light of this event, it should be noted that according to European Council statistics, German forces are prepared for an attack at any time. Another plot was uncovered five years ago when German police arrested a Tunisian man and his wife on suspicion of planning to carry out a ricin attack in the name of the Islamic State group. There have been 21 Islamist extremist attacks since the year 2000.

The current operation, executed at the start of 2023, is now being carried out to figure out who else might be involved in the plot.

Featured image by: AFP Photo

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