terror threat

Chemnitz Plot Reignites Security Debate

LEIPZIG, GERMANY - OCTOBER 10: German police outside of the apartment building where hours earlier police arrested Syrian terror suspect Jaber Al-Bakr on October 10, 2016 in Leipzig, Germany. Al-Bakr is accused of planning a terror attack and having prepared high explosives for it at an apartment in Chemnitz. Police raided the Chemnitz apartment on Saturday but Al-Bakr managed to flee. According to media reports he approached two fellow Syrians at the main train station in Leipzig and asked if he could stay with them. The two men reportedly brought him to their apartment but then overwhelmed him and called the police. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
The police tracked down their suspect to Leipzig, with the help of two Syrian refugees.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    A foiled bomb plot is leading German politicians to consider stronger security policies but some fear these would restrict certain rights.

  • Facts


    • On Saturday police raided an apartment in Chemnitz, Eastern Germany, on advice from the intelligence agencies.
    • They found explosives but failed to arrest the man who is suspected of maintaining ties to IS.
    • Late Sunday, the police arrested the Syrian man, a refugee, who had been captured by two other refugees.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

The Christian Democrats were already calling for tougher security measures even before Sunday’s arrest of a man reportedly planning to bomb an airport in Berlin.

At the weekend, police raided a home in Chemnitz and found explosive materials. Apparently there is also evidence that the suspect, Jabr Al-Bakr, had been searching online for information on how to build a bomb. The security forces believe he had contact with IS and was planning a large explosion.

The governing CDU party now believes even stronger measures are needed to protect Germany from a terror attack.

Armin Schuster, the chairman of the Bundestag’s internal affairs committee and a CDU member, said his party now wants to extend data surveillance. At present, citizens’ phone and internet records of citizens may be legally stored for ten weeks. This material should be stored for up to six months, Mr. Schuster told Handelsblatt.

Evidence suggested that Jabr Al-Bakr had had contact with IS. Mr. Schuster said in this case, as with other terror suspects, holding such data would help investigators find out whether they had contact with commanders, supporters or sympathizers.

In Germany, data protection and privacy are fiercely protected.

But according to Mr. Schuster, holding onto telecommunications data would help security authorities reveal and understand terror threats.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.