SEK mission in North Rhine-Westphalia: Two men who may have planned a terrorist attack with cyanide and ricin were arrested in Castrop-Rauxel. A “friend of the secret service” had led the investigators on the trail of the suspected chemical bombers.
Anti-terrorist investigators arrested an Iranian national in the Ruhr area who is said to have prepared an Islamist attack. The investigators searched the 32-year-old’s apartment in Castrop-Rauxel on Sunday night. The man is suspected of having obtained the toxins cyanide and ricin for the crime, said the Düsseldorf public prosecutor, the Recklinghausen police and the Münster police early on Sunday morning.
The 32-year-old was reportedly taken into custody along with another man. It was initially unclear how far the attack plans had progressed and whether there was already a concrete target for the attack. The investigation was still ongoing in the morning.
According to a report by “Bild”, employees from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) were also on site as consultants because of the biological and chemical dangers for the emergency services. Several employees of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and a defuse commando were also deployed. The BKA did not want to comment on the operation and referred to the Attorney General’s Office.
According to the RKI, the highly toxic substance is listed under “biological weapons” in the war weapons list. Cyanide is also highly toxic, even the smallest amounts are fatal to humans.
The investigators struck around midnight. The scene was cordoned off over a wide area. Police, fire brigade and rescue workers were on site with a large contingent. Many emergency services wore protective suits. Evidence was brought in blue barrels to a decontamination point set up by the fire department, a dpa reporter reported.
“The accused is suspected of having prepared a serious act of violence that is dangerous to the state,” said the investigators. “The search serves to find the corresponding toxins and other evidence.” The 32-year-old and the second man taken into custody were led across the street into an emergency vehicle in underwear and a T-shirt or with a makeshift jacket thrown on, eyewitnesses reported. Neither of them resisted. According to a WDR report, the two men are said to be brothers.
“Evidence was secured and is being evaluated,” wrote the investigative authorities. It has not yet been decided whether the 32-year-old will be brought before a magistrate.
According to information from “Bild”, the Federal Criminal Police Office has been investigating the Iranian for several days. A “friend of the secret service” is said to have warned the German security authorities about the danger of a chemical bomb attack.
Four years ago, investigations in Cologne showed just how dangerous ricin is: in a 15-story building in the high-rise district of Chorweiler, a Tunisian and his German wife produced the chemical and set off test explosions. A foreign secret service became suspicious about online purchases of large quantities of castor seeds and gave a tip. Both were sentenced to long prison terms. An expert report showed that, purely arithmetically, 13,500 people could have died from the amount of poison. With the planned spread by a cluster bomb spiked with steel balls, it would have killed around 200 people.