Germany arrests ISIS suspect, cites Bundesliga threat

Bayern Munich celebrating their Bundesliga title win on May 14, 2016.
Bayern Munich celebrating their Bundesliga title win on May 14, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) – German special forces have arrested a Syrian suspected of being a member of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, local authorities said Tuesday (Aug 9), citing a threat to the opening game of the upcoming Bundesliga football championships.

“There are indications that something is being planned for the start of the Bundesliga season,” a spokesman for the interior ministry of Rhineland-Palatinate told AFP.

The 24-year-old man was arrested on Friday in Mutterstadt, a city in the western state, before investigators raided a flat in Duisburg, some 300km north-west in North Rhine-Westphalia state.

The interior ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia said there was “no concrete threat” but a witness had alerted the authorities to a planned Islamist attack.

The suspect, an asylum seeker from Syria, arrived in Germany at the start of the year and has been living in North Rhine-Westphalia, according to Germany’s department for distributing refugees around the country, cited by the Suedwestrundfunk channel.

Numerous photos of fighting in Syria were found on his phone and computer, the Suedwestrundfunk report said, though it was not clear if he had taken them himself or downloaded them.

Duisburg prosecutors refused to comment.

League champions Bayern Munich will host Werder Bremen as the new season of Germany’s first division football championships kick off on Aug 26.

In July, the southern state of Bavaria suffered two attacks carried out by asylum seekers and claimed by ISIS – an axe rampage on a train in Wuerzburg and a suicide bombing in Ansbach.

In Wuerzburg the 17-year-old attacker was shot dead by police after injuring five people. In Ansbach 15 people were injured after a failed Syrian asylum seeker detonated his explosive outside a music festival, killing himself.