German police are looking for a Syrian man suspected of planning a bombing attack after a raid on the apartment where he was thought to be turned up traces of explosives but no suspect, authorities said Saturday. Police raided the apartment in the eastern city of Chemnitz after receiving information from Germany’s domestic intelligence agency Friday night about the alleged attack plans, Saxony police spokesman Tom Bernhardt told reporters.
Saxony police put out an alert, identifying the suspect as 22-year-old Jaber Albakr from Damascus, and urging anyone with any information of his whereabouts to contact authorities. They released a photo of the suspect, a dark-haired man wearing a hooded sweatshirt, and said he was last seen wearing similar clothes. “We have to assume that he is dangerous,” Bernhardt said.
The German news agency dpa reported, citing unidentified German security sources, that the suspect is believed to be connected to Islamic extremist groups. Bernhardt would only say that he was “known” to German intelligence. Authorities released no details about how long the suspect had been in Germany, and Bernhardt said it was unclear whether he had come in the wave of asylum-seekers in 2015. Germany took in 890,000 asylum-seekers last year, and Syrians fleeing civil war were the single largest group.
Neighbors reported hearing an explosion during the raid, but that was the police assault team blowing open the apartment door, police spokeswoman Kathlen Zink told The Associated Press. Germany has been on edge since two attacks this summer claimed by the Islamic State in which multiple people were injured and both assailants died. Two other attacks unrelated to Islamic extremism, including a deadly mall shooting in Munich, have also contributed to fears.