Tunisian held in Germany ‘sought to build biological weapon’

Police officers, including special forces wearing protective suits walk out of a building on late June 12, 2018 in Cologne, where German police arrested a Tunisian man after discovering “toxic substances” at his flat. (AFP)
Updated 14 June 2018
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Tunisian held in Germany ‘sought to build biological weapon’

  • A Tunisian man arrested in Germany is suspected of trying to build a biological weapon using the deadly poison ricin.
  • The 29-year-old, identified as Sief Allah H, was detained after police stormed his flat in Cologne late Tuesday, where they found ricin.

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: A Tunisian man arrested in Germany is suspected of trying to build a biological weapon using the deadly poison ricin, prosecutors said Thursday, stressing however there was no indication of any “concrete attack plans.”
The 29-year-old, identified as Sief Allah H, was detained after police stormed his flat in Cologne late Tuesday, where they found unknown “toxic substances” that turned out to be ricin.
“He is strongly suspected of intentionally manufacturing biological weapons,” federal prosecutors said in a statement.
The suspect has been charged with violating German law on the possession of weapons of war, and “preparing a serious act of violence against the state.”
But prosecutors cautioned that it remained unclear whether he was planning to use ricin to carry out an extremist attack in Germany.
“There are no indications that the accused belongs to a terrorist organization, nor of any concrete attack plans at a certain time or place,” they said.
According to German media, the police raid came after German intelligence services were tipped off by foreign authorities who had grown suspicious of the suspect’s online purchases.
Prosecutors said Sief Allah H. started buying the necessary equipment and ingredients to make ricin in mid-May — including an online purchase of “a thousand castor seeds and an electric coffee grinder.”
He succeeded in manufacturing the toxin earlier this month. The dangerous substance has been secured by the authorities, they added.
Ricin — a poison that is produced by processing castor beans — has no known antidote and is one of the world’s most lethal toxins.
It is 6,000 times more powerful than cyanide.
German news weekly Der Spiegel reported that Sief Allah H. was thought to have been following instructions disseminated by Daesh on how to build a bomb containing ricin.
The case comes less than a month after French authorities said they had foiled a terror attack possibly involving the use of ricin. Two brothers of Egyptian origin were arrested.
Germany remains on high alert for extremist attacks after several assaults claimed by Daesh in the country.
In the worst such attack, Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri rammed a truck into crowds at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016, killing 12.


Gulf Arab youths form volunteer group in Australia

Updated 20 May 2019
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Gulf Arab youths form volunteer group in Australia

  • Wasel Club is the first Arab volunteer group in the capital city of South Australia Adelaide
  • The club chose to begin with the traditional Gargee’an

ADELAIDE: Young Arabs from various Gulf countries have organized a volunteer group to spread Gulf culture and traditions in Australia.
Wasel Club, the first Arab volunteer group in the capital city of South Australia Adelaide, aims to achieve its mission by enhancing cooperation and teamwork through various cultural, national and social activities.
The club has chosen to begin with the traditional Gargee’an, which takes place in the middle of Ramadan, during which families give different kinds of treats to kids and traditional games are played by the elderly.
“We’d been thinking of a good way to commence our activities. Gargee’an is an activity that involves all ages,” Razan Al-Dossary, the founder of Wasel and a nursing student at South Australia University, told Arab News.
“Gargee’an is an interesting, fun and friendly event that allows people to connect with each other and see interesting aspects of Arab culture and society,” she said.
“All members of the (Wasel) team are students who are thousands of miles away from home. We saw an opportunity for us and other Arabs to experience the way Gargee’an is done back home.”