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Germany, Denmark say alleged terrorist bomb plot Islamist in nature

Number of suspects arrested rises to 14; Islamic State flag found during search of suspect’s residence; authorities say they found ingredients for bomb

Danish forensic technicians work at Apotekerhaven in Holbaek, Denmark, on February 6, 2021, as Danish police search addresses in Apotekerhaven. (presse-fotos.dk/Ritzau via AP)
Danish forensic technicians work at Apotekerhaven in Holbaek, Denmark, on February 6, 2021, as Danish police search addresses in Apotekerhaven. (presse-fotos.dk/Ritzau via AP)

Danish and German authorities said Friday they had foiled a possible Islamist terror attack after a series of arrests in the two countries, adding however the danger did not seem imminent.

The plot appeared to target Denmark or Germany, investigators told reporters at Danish intelligence agency PET’s headquarters near Copenhagen.

Components and chemicals to make explosives, as well as firearms, were seized in raids but they had not been assembled, suggesting the attack was still some way off, PET operations chief Flemming Dryer said.

“We found the ingredients needed to make a bomb,” he said. A hunting rifle with a scope was also seized, as well as an IS (Islamic State) flag.

A picture taken on February 6, 2021 shows a Danish police officer in Apotekerhaven in Holbaek. (STRINGER / various sources / AFP)

“We believe there was no immediate threat, nothing was assembled or mixed. But we’re not naive, and we’re not excluding anything,” he said.

According to German officials, three Syrian brothers were among those arrested, two in Denmark and one in the German state of Hesse.

Horst Seehofer (CSU), Federal Minister of the Interior, Homeland and Construction, presents the 2019 Report on the Protection of the Constitution at the Federal Press Conference in Berlin, Germany, July 9, 2020. (Hannibal Hanschke/Pool via AP)

“Our security services once again prevented an Islamist terror attack,” Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said, adding that the trio were “probably preparing an attack in Europe.”

A total of 13 people were arrested at the weekend in a suburb outside Copenhagen, PET said on Thursday, also confirming the 14th arrest in Germany.

“The operation took place due to suspicions that a terror attack motivated by militant Islamism was being prepared,” PET said in a statement Friday.

Flemming Drejer, chief operating officer of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET), speaks during a doorstep at PET (Danish Security and Intelligence Service) in Copenhagen on February 12, 2021, to comment on investigations of the Danish police and the PET about a possible planning of a terror attack both in Denmark and Germany after several arrests this weekend. (Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP)

In Denmark, seven of the suspects were remanded in custody suspected of “planning one or more terrorist attacks or being accessory to attempted terrorism.”

The six others were also remanded in custody for an as yet undisclosed reason.

Local media reported that the 13 were eight men and five women.

German prosecutors on Thursday said police were alerted to the Syrian trio last week after they ordered chemicals online in January that can be used to make explosives.

According to Seehofer, Germany has foiled 17 Islamist attacks since 2009.

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