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Three teenagers arrested for plotting terror attack targeting churches, police

They were suspected of plotting a terrorist attack in accordance with the aims and ideology of the extremist militia organisation Islamic State.

• April 12, 2024
German police
German police used to illustrate the story

German authorities have arrested three teenagers aged 15 and 16 on suspicion of plotting a deadly Islamist terrorist attack in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, prosecutors said on Friday.

The state’s Central Office for the Prosecution of Terrorism (ZenTer NRW) sought an arrest warrant for the teenagers over the Easter holiday.

They were suspected of plotting a terrorist attack in accordance with the aims and ideology of the extremist militia organisation Islamic State.

The detained suspects are a 15-year-old girl from Dusseldorf, a 16-year-old girl from the Märkischer Kreis district, and a 15-year-old boy from the Soest district, located about 100 kilometres to the east of Dusseldorf.

A fourth suspect has reportedly been identified in the south-western German state of Baden-Württemberg, and the local court there has issued an arrest warrant.

According to the investigators, the teenagers are accused of having agreed to commit murder and manslaughter.

This is in conjunction with the preparation of a serious act of violence endangering the state.

The presumption of innocence was applied in all stages of the proceedings.

Security sources told journalists that the young people had formed a chat group, but had not drawn up a concrete attack plan for a particular time and place.

However, sources said the cities of Dortmund, Dusseldorf, and Cologne were discussed as targets, and attacks with knives and Molotov cocktails on people in churches or police officers in police stations had been considered.

The sources said authorities had also conducted searches as part of the investigation.

A machete and a dagger were seized in Düsseldorf, but no evidence of the construction of incendiary devices was discovered.

Sources said the father of the Dusseldorf suspect had already attracted attention from authorities in the past because he had allegedly collected donations for the Islamic State.

The investigators declined to reveal how the suspected terrorists were tracked down, but said that foreign intelligence agencies “did not play a role.”

(dpa/NAN)

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