BERLIN (AP) — German police arrested early Monday a Syrian man who is suspected of preparing a bomb attack, following a nearly two-day manhunt.
Jaber Albakr, a 22-year-old who had been granted asylum in Germany, was arrested in the eastern city of Leipzig, police in Saxony state said. Leipzig is around 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Chemnitz, where he had evaded authorities on Saturday and where authorities found explosives.
Police were informed that fellow Syrians were holding the suspect at an apartment in Leipzig, and “immediately went there and arrested him,” Saxony police spokesman Tom Bernhardt said.
He added that police aren’t giving further details “because we do not want to provoke any dangers for those persons who gave us the tip.”
Albakr, who comes from the Damascus area, escaped authorities on Saturday when they raided an apartment in Chemnitz. Investigators said they found “several hundred grams” of a volatile explosive hidden in the apartment, enough to cause significant damage.
The weekend raid came after Saxony police were given a tip from Germany’s domestic intelligence service that Albakr might be planning an attack.
On Saturday morning, as police prepared to raid the apartment building, Albakr was observed leaving the premises. Police fired a warning shot but were unable to stop him.
German media have reported that Albakr is believed to be connected to Islamic extremist groups, but Saxony police have not commented on his possible motive or the bomb plot’s target.
The explosives were destroyed Saturday in a controlled detonation by bomb squad experts in a pit dug outside the five-story apartment building because they were considered too dangerous to transport.
In July, two attacks carried out by asylum seekers and claimed by the Islamic State group, in which multiple people were injured and the assailants were killed, put Germany on edge — along with two other attacks unrelated to Islamic extremism, including a deadly mall shooting in Munich.
Authorities say Albakr came to Germany in the flood of 890,000 migrants who entered the country in 2015 and had been granted asylum.
During the manhunt, federal police had increased security around the country, particularly around facilities such as train stations and airports.