Three Syrian migrants who were planning a Paris style massacre in Dusseldorf have been arrested by German police.
The German federal prosecutor has announced the arrests of three men from Syria who entered the country during the migrant crisis. The three are alleged to have been plotting a massive terror attack in the city of Dusseldorf where they hoped to kill at least 200 innocent people.
A fourth suspect in the plot is said to have also been arrested in France, Staadt Kurier reports.
The three men, aged 25, 27 and 31, were arrested in the regions of North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg and Baden Württemberg on Thursday afternoon. The leader of the group is said to be 27-year-old Hamza C who was sent by Islamic State leadership along the now closed Balkan route to commit acts of terrorism in Western Europe.
In Germany Hamza C met 31-year-old Abd Arahman AK who was sent by Islamic State to Germany in October of 2014. Twenty-five-year-old Mahood B is said to have joined them soon after.
Experts say the trio were planning to attack the part of the old city of Dusseldorf known for its bars and nightclubs in order to put the “sinful doings” of men and women to an end. The main target of the terrorists was thought to be a marksmen’s festival “Neusser Schützenfest” which takes place in August and attracts large crowds to the city.
Hamza C was arrested in the migrant home where he lived in Brandenburg. Police stormed the home, arrested the Islamic State fighter and flew him out by helicopter. The operation was similar to the one which caught another Islamic State commander earlier in the year who was also living in a migrant home.
Hamza C is said to have joined the terror group in 2014. Seeing an opportunity to get their fighters into Europe, Islamic State commanded him to join the wave of migrants crossing from Turkey. The Brandenburg Interior Ministry has commented that this case demonstrates the seriousness of the threat to German security by Islamic State, and that Germans must now assume that attacks can be perpetrated at any time.
Investigators have said that so far they have no evidence that the Syrians had initiated any implementation of the plan. However, the plan did detail that two of the men were to blow themselves up with suicide vests and the other was to fire an automatic rifle and throw explosives into crowds in the same style as the Paris and Mumbai massacres.
The arrests come at a time of increasing fears of possible terror attacks at the upcoming Euro 2016 football championship and are on the heels of arrests of suspected migrant terrorists in Italy last month. French and Belgian authorities warned in April that many European law enforcement agencies had underestimated the scale of Islamic State networks in Europe, or the potential for the terrorist organisation to swell their ranks with new migrant recruits.