Police in Germany have arrested a Syrian migrant on suspicion of asking Islamic State to help him finance a car-bombing campaign.
The 38-year-old migrant, named as Hasan A, contacted the terror group via the messaging service Telegram, asking them to send 180,000 euros.
He was detained after police raided his apartment in Saarbrucken at 2am on New Year’s Eve, before being formally arrested on New Year’s Day.
Spiegel Online says the migrant’s plan involved re-painting vehicles to look like police cars and then using them as bombs in countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium.
He had been in contact with Islamic State intermediaries in Raqqa, the de facto capital of the terror group, and asked them to send the money so he could purchase vehicles, pack them with explosives and drive them into crowds, prosecutors said.
However, Hasan A, denied this was genuinely his plan, telling officers he was simply trying to defraud the terror group so he could send the money to his family in Syria.
Police said that despite the messages, there was little evidence he posed an immediate threat to New Year’s Eve celebrations, nor that he had already purchased a vehicle.
The arrest comes just weeks after a terrorist drove a truck into a crowded Christmas market in the German capital Berlin.
Anis Amri, a Tunisian migrant, killed 12 people on the Monday before Christmas before evading authorities and fleeing across Europe’s open borders. He was eventually shot and killed in a gunfight with police in the Italian city of Milan.
He was one of several terror suspects to use Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis as an opportunity to cross into the continent, crossing through several countries unhindered thanks to the Schengen open borders agreement.
There are now increasing calls for the agreement to be scrapped, with Italian populist leader Beppe Grillo calling Europe a “sieve”.
“Italy is becoming a transit for terrorists who we are not able to recognise and report. Thanks to Schengen, they can cross borders unmolested throughout Europe. We must act now,” he said.