Germany: Iranian hero suspected of poisoning plot after U.S. tip-off

BERLIN (AP) — A 32-year-old Iranian man has been detained in Germany after U.S. security officials suggested he may be planning an attack using deadly chemicals, officials said Sunday.

The man and another person were detained overnight in the town of Castrop-Rauxel, northwest of Dortmund, police and prosecutors said.

Authorities said in a joint statement that the man was suspected of planning a serious attack motivated by Islamic extremism for which he had allegedly sought access to the potent toxins cyanide and ricin.

Experts in anti-pollution suits were seen carrying evidence out of the man’s home.

Düsseldorf prosecutors later said an initial search of the premises turned up no toxic substances.

It was not immediately clear how the attack plan progressed and whether the suspect chose a specific target.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s top security official, Herbert Ruhr, was quoted by German news agency dpa as saying authorities had received “serious tips that led to police intervention that night”.

The tabloid Bild reported that information about the alleged plot came from a joint intelligence agency. Düsseldorf prosecutors confirmed that the information came from US authorities, but declined to elaborate.

Citing an unidentified German security official, the Dpa said there was no indication the suspect was acting on behalf of the Iranian government, but rather that he allegedly supported a Sunni extremist group. Sunnis are Iran’s religious minority.

Germany’s top security official thanked police officers involved in the raid and experts from the country’s disease control agency.

“Our security services take any information about the Islamic terrorist threat very seriously and act on it,” Interior Minister Nancy Fasser said in a statement, adding that Germany has prevented 21 Islamic attacks since the beginning of the century .

Faeser pointed to the importance of international cooperation in combating the extremist threat and said further investigations by Düsseldorf prosecutors would show whether it was necessary to raise suspicions about police action.

Five years ago, German police arrested a Tunisian man and his wife on suspicion of planning a ricin attack in the name of the Islamic State group.they were later found guilty They were sentenced to 10 and 8 years in prison, respectively.

Even small amounts of ricin, produced from castor seeds, can kill an adult human if eaten, injected or inhaled.

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