German police arrested two men suspected of planning a bomb attack after they purchased chemical ingredients that could be used in an explosive device, a Berlin police spokesman said Thursday.
REUTERS - German police have arrested two men of Middle Eastern origin suspected of buying material for a bomb attack, a police spokesman in Berlin said on Thursday.
The two, identified as a 24-year-old German-Lebanese man and a 28-year-old from the Palestinian Gaza Strip, are suspected of buying chemicals to make an explosive device, police said.
The police operation comes two weeks before Pope Benedict is due to visit Germany and days before commemorations to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. targets.
"We are investigating the suspected preparation of a serious act of violence," said the police spokesman, adding that the investigations had been going on for several months. "We are looking for chemical substances suitable for making explosives."
Police, who arrested the pair in Berlin, had searched two apartments and an Islamic cultural centre in the German capital, the spokesman said. He did not say when the arrests were made.
Security sources said the men had acquired cooling elements and acid to make a bomb.
State prosecutors, who are usually involved in major terrorism cases, said they were not pursuing the matter.
Germany has been spared a big terrorist attack but police have thwarted several suspected plots in the last few years.
Fears of an attack grew after Hamburg was found to be a base for some of the Sept. 11 suicide plotters. Security officials have repeatedly warned that militant cells may exist.
Ehrhart Koerting, interior minister for the Berlin city government, said the investigation had been going on for some time. "A decision was made to act now because there were enough elements, or something was about to happen," he told reporters.
Date created : 2011-09-08