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.
“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.
“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.
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.