A 17-year-old registered unaccompanied asylum applicant who arrived in Germany from Syria in 2015 was arrested Tuesday on suspicion that he was planning to stage a suicide attack in Berlin.
Police said that the unidentified teen sent a letter to his mother back home, saying that he “had joined the jihad.”
“Evidence of the planning of a concrete act has not yet been identified during the police investigation,” said police in a statement.
The man has been living in a shelter, which is located in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s home region of Uckermark.
The truck killing at a Berlin Christmas market back in December in which a Tunisian refugee killed 12 people has put the country on high alert.
A hotline that was established in recent years for people to tip off police about Islamist terrorism received 1,100 calls in 2016, which is more than double the amount in 2015. According to Hans-Georg Maassen, the president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the information coming in is more specific, and police are investigating every lead.
“We continue to have a high threat level in Germany,” said Maassen said at a press conference in March. “Over the course of 2016, Germany has become significantly higher rated for ISIS.”
Recent figures from the BfV show that Germany’s population of Islamic extremists has exploded “from 100 people in 2013 to 1,600 in the last four years.”
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