A Syrian migrant who arrived in Germany two years ago has been arrested on suspicion of seeking funds from Islamic State to drive truck bombs into a crowd, according to German state prosecutors.
The arrest follows an attack two weeks ago when a Tunisian whose asylum request had been rejected rammed a truck into a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people. The man, Anis Amri, 24, was later shot dead by Italian police, Reuters reports.
In the latest case, the prosecutor in the western city of Saarbruecken said the 38-year-old Syrian was detained on Saturday and a formal arrest warrant was issued on Sunday on suspicion that he was trying to raise 180,000 euros (US$189,000) to fund an attack.
Prosecutor Christoph Rebmann said the man, whom he did not name, was suspected of seeking the money from Islamic State in Syria to buy trucks and load 400-500 kg (880-1,100 pounds) of explosives into each of them.
“He is suspected of … requesting 180,000 euros from a contact person in Syria on his cell phone from Saarbruecken in December, 2016 so that he could acquire vehicles to pack with explosives and drive them into a crowd,” Rebmann said in a statement.
The man has admitted making contact with Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS, but denied he had any plans to stage an attack.
“He said he wanted the money from ISIS to support his family back in Syria,” Rebmann told Reuters, adding that the Syrian had said he wanted to fool the jihadist group into sending him the money.
The Syrian is from the city of Raqqa, Islamic State’s main stronghold in the country. The prosecutor’s office in Saarbruecken, near the French border, had been alerted to his activities by the BKA federal crime office.
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