An underage Syrian migrant has been arrested and charged in Cologne for having links to Islamic State and for plotting a terror attack.
The 16-year-old Syrian migrant, who had come into Germany during the course of the migrant crisis, was arrested in September, Austrian paper Kurier reports.
Attorney general Ulf Willuhn said that the 16-year-old would officially be charged with preparing serious violence that threatens the wellbeing of the state. Police claim that the migrant was actively plotting to build an explosive device and say that he had contact with Islamic State fighters who were instructing him on building a bomb.
Mr. Willuhn noted that despite the migrant being a terrorism suspect, he would be tried as a juvenile because he is underage. If convicted of plotting a terrorist attack, the Syrian can be expected to receive a sentence of community service or possible imprisonment in a juvenile facility.
The case reflects growing fears on behalf of the police and security services in Germany of the radicalisation of underage migrants and underage Muslims. Wolfgang Trusheim, head of the Frankfurt state police, has been one of the most vocal members of the German law enforcement community to speak out on the worrying trend of Salafist parents and preachers radicalising young Muslims.
Radical Islamic Salafist preachers have also been caught actively trying to convert and recruit underage migrants in asylum homes. Over the last year, the German Interior Ministry has recorded over 300 cases in which Salafist preachers have directly targeted underage migrants. The government says that the Salafists disguise their recruitment by bringing food and cash for the migrants to build up their trust before radicalising them.
Several radical Islamist attacks in Germany have been conducted by underage migrants since the migrant crisis. An attack on a train in Würzburg saw several injured by an underage migrant wielding an axe. Experts were shocked at the rapid speed attacker Muhammed Riyad, also known at Riaz A., was radicalised via Islamic State propaganda on the internet.
In another attack that ultimately failed in Ansbach, a young failed asylum seeker from Syria killed himself and injured a dozen others after the bomb he built went off prematurely. The Syrian planned to plant the device in an open air music festival to cause mass casualties.