Syrian terrorist arrested in Germany inspired by ISIS, planned Paris or Brussels-scale attack

BERLIN (REUTERS) - A Syrian refugee arrested in Germany after explosives were found in a flat in the city of Chemnitz was planning to carry out attacks similar in scale to those in Brussels in March and in Paris last year, the German interior minister said on Monday (Oct 10).

"According to what we know, the preparations in Chemnitz are similar to the preparations for the attacks in Paris and Brussels," Mr Thomas de Maiziere said in a statement.

Mr Joerg Michaelis, the president of the Saxony state criminal investigation office, separately told a news conference that the 22-year-old refugee was most likely inspired by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"The behaviour of the suspect speaks for an IS context," he said, using an alternative acronym for ISIS.

Mr Michaelis said explosives found on Saturday (Oct 8) in the apartment of the suspect, Jaber Albakr, 22,  were “almost ready, or even ready for usage”, he said, adding that the suspect was apparently preparing a “bomb, possibly in the form of a suicide vest”.

Police said they caught Albakr with the help of two “compatriots of the suspect, who had detained him in their apartment” in Leipzig.

Mr Michaelis confirmed that Albakr had been tied up and overpowered by the informants.

ISIS gunmen and bombers killed some 130 people in the French capital in November and the militant group claimed responsibility for suicide bomb attacks in the Belgian capital four months later that left at least 30 people dead.