German army lieutenant 'posed as Syrian refugee for more than a year to carry out terror attack'
A German soldier, who spent more than a year posing as a Syrian refugee, has been arrested on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack.
The 28-year-old lieutenant, who is stationed in France, had procured a firearm and registered himself as a Syrian refugee despite his German nationality and being unable to speak Arabic. He allegedly divided his time living at a refugee shelter and the base in France.
He was arrested at a military facility in Hammelburg where he had been assigned for 'qualification courses'.
"Just because he was stationed in France does not mean that he had to stay there every day. He was able to move freely during his free time," a police spokesman told the Telegraph.
The arrest was accompanied by searches at 16 locations across France, Germany and Austria. The case is being handled by the prosecutor's office in Hessen, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and the military counterintelligence service.
Nadia Niesen of the Hessen prosecutor’s office said he may also have had a 24-year-old accomplice.
"It is understood that the accomplice was aware of the [suspect’s plan] to register as an asylum seeker.”
Investigators reportedly recovered “numerous mobile phones, laptops as well as documents.” Niesen said weapons and ammunition were found at the 24-year-old's home.
The 24-year-old student from the soldier's home town of Offenbach was also arrested.
Reports say the soldier first came to the authorities’ attention in February, when he was arrested by Austrian police after attempting to conceal a 7.65mm pistol in a toilet at Vienna Internatinal airport. He was swiftly released but a subsequent investigation uncovered the suspected plot.
Last week, German police detained a German-Russian citizen suspected of being behind the attack on the Borussia Dortmund football team. Several windows on the bus were shattered in the blasts, injuring defender Marc Bartra.
Investigators found notes at the scene "in the name of Allah" that put responsibility for the attack on Islamic extremists, but quickly doubted their authenticity.
Federal prosecutors said the suspect, identified only as Sergej W, was arrested early on Friday in or near the south-western city of Tuebingen on charges of attempted murder, causing an explosion and serious bodily harm.
The prosecutor’s office said "there is considerable doubt about radical Islamists [being involved in the attack]."