At least 190 police officers were involved in an anti-terrorism raid targeting a 15-year-old Syrian migrant boy who had allegedly threatened to carry out a terror attack.
The massive raid took place on Tuesday at 6 am in the Marzahn area of the German capital and saw the nearly 200 officers moving in on the third floor in an apartment building where the Syrian teen lived with his family.
A spokesman for the Berlin prosecutor’s office said investigators had evidence of an impending attack, saying, according to Bild: “Based on a credible indication last night, it was suspected that the 15-year-old suspect had expressed in a chat his willingness to commit a bombing attack in Berlin-Marzahn on an Islamist-motivated basis and that such an act was imminent.”
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Officers deployed bomb-sniffing dogs to search both the apartment and the nearby area. However, police found no bomb-making material or any traces of explosives. Investigators also seized electronic devices belonging to the Syrian teen.
The teen’s father spoke to Bild and claimed his son suffered from mental issues and asked police to put the boy in a mental clinic if needed.
Norbert Cioma, the regional president of the police union, defended the massive operation, saying: “It is right and important that we act as quickly as possible and do not take any risks with the slightest suspicion of terrorist offences.”
The raid comes months after a Syrian asylum seeker in Dresden stabbed one person to death and injured another in what German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said was likely inspired by radical Islamic ideology.
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As of September, an estimated 627 potential terrorists were recorded by the German security services. The preparator of the Dresden attack was among those on the terror watchlist.
Around a third of the 300 Islamic State members who have returned from the Middle East over the last few years are also on the terror list.
However, the number of radical Islamic extremists is far larger with a 2018 report estimating more than 10,000 extremists across the country.