Two Palestinian origin men radicalised by Islamic State propaganda were arrested after they plotted to attack the Israeli embassy in Berlin.
Arrested in July, the prosecution against 21 year old ‘Mohamed El-N.’ and ‘Ali El-I.’ — the German state does not provide surnames for the accused for reasons of privacy — commenced this week. Germany-born but of Palestinian origin, the two men stand accused of having plotted to attack the Israeli embassy in Berlin between December 2014 and July 2015 in an “massive act of violence”, reports the Jerusalem Post.
A spokesman for the Berlin court trying the pair said although they had never been to the Islamic State, the pair had been inspired by online propaganda. Having had no contact with radical Islamist groups in the Middle East, the men effectively self-radicalised.
In their defence, the couple insisted they were not proto-terrorists, but rather just looking for a laugh. Responding to the explosive device they stand accused of having made in their dormitory out of illegal high-powered fireworks, one of the men said “we just wanted to get up to tomfoolery and experience something big”.
As for the bomb itself, they said it was just intended to be set off in a forest for fun. One of the pair claimed he had no prospects, had been a drug user and was easily led on “obsessions”, but had “quickly realised” the Islamic State was a criminal organisation. He said he’d never wanted to commit a crime, but was rather stupidly “blustering” and “posturing” about “blowing something up”.
Doubting their story, the prosecution said the pair had been rapidly radicalised in the months leading up to their arrest and “the explosive device for an attack on the Israeli embassy or any other Israeli institution to use”, reports the Berlin Morgen Post.
German police have been proactive in arresting Islamists as and when they find them in the wake of the Paris attacks, in which 130 were killed by Islamic State infiltrators. The Federal government announced this week the arrest of a known Islamic State fundraiser and fighter in a refugee camp. It is claimed he was involved in fighting between the Islamic State and the legitimate Syrian government in the Deir Ez-Zor region, where he saw intense combat.