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German Police Arrest Man on Suspicion of Planning Attack | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Police stand guard outside as officers investigate a residential building where arrested suspects are thought to live, in Alsdorf near Aachen, Germany November 17, 2015. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

German police said on Sunday they arrested a 21-year-old man thought to have been plotting an attack, and linked his case to that of a second suspect captured in Vienna.

Special forces police arrested the man and a woman during a raid on an apartment in the western city of Neuss on Saturday, a spokesman for the Criminal Investigation Office (LKA) said. The woman, identified in media reports as the man’s wife, has been released.

A spokesman for the Austrian interior ministry, Karl-Heinz Grundboeck, confirmed that the arrest “is linked” to that of a 17-year-old man — not 18 as previously indicated — in Vienna on Friday evening.

“Investigations are continuing,” Grundboeck told AFP.

Both German and Austrian authorities declined to comment further but media reports in both countries said that the two had experimented with making explosives in the flat in Neuss.

German authorities have been on high alert since a failed asylum seeker from Tunisia rammed a truck into a Christmas market last month in Berlin, killing 12 people.

Germany’s Focus magazine said the man arrested on Saturday was planning a bomb attack on police and soldiers.

The Neuss arrest followed a tipoff from Austrian authorities, said Frank Scheulen, spokesman for the LKA in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The man, whose nationality was not given, was arrested on suspicion of planning to carry out a “serious act of violent subversion,” Scheulen said.

Press reports named him as Lorenz K., born in Austria to parents of Albanian origin and who grew up in the small town of Neunkirchen south of Vienna.

The reports said that he possibly became radicalized while serving a year in prison from 2014-15 for assault.

The Vienna suspect, an 18-year-old with an Albanian background, was arrested on Friday on suspicion of having contacts to Islamist militants and planning an attack, Austrian police said.

A spokesman for the German interior ministry said German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere spoke about the case on Friday with his Austrian counterpart, Wolfgang Sobotka.

Computers, mobile telephones and data storage devices were seized in the Neuss raid, Scheulen said.