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.


Police carry out controlled explosion on 'suspect package' near British parliament

Updated 18 October 2018
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Police carry out controlled explosion on 'suspect package' near British parliament

  • The package was later found not to be suspicious

LONDON: Police on Wednesday used a bomb disposal robot and carried out a controlled explosion on a package found in central London near the British parliament.
Although the package was later found not to be suspicious, emergency services were called to gardens next to the River Thames during the afternoon, a police spokesman said.
"We've just been told it's all been stood down -- non-suspicious," he told AFP.
An AFP photographer at the scene saw a bomb disposal robot being deployed and a small explosion was heard.
A building where many MPs have their offices was also cordoned off along with Victoria Embankment which leads to parliament.
The area was targeted in a terror attack last year when Khalid Masood mowed down and killed five pedestrians before fatally stabbing a police officer outside parliament.
Masood was then shot dead by a police bodyguard.
Salih Khater, a Sudanese-born British national, crashed his car into the security barriers outside parliament in August this year in another suspected attack.
He is due to go on trial for attempted murder.