German police arrested a 29-year-old man on Thursday who they said was an active member of Isil who was plotting a truck attack on an ice rink.
The arrest, a year after Anis Amri, a failed Tunisian asylum seeker with Islamist links, hijacked a truck and drove it into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people, comes as security services have warned of growing numbers of radical Islamists in Germany.
“He was considering an attack on the ice rink on the Schlossplatz in Karlsruhe,” police in the south-western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said, adding that the suspect was a German citizen whose name they gave only as Dasbar W.
“To that end he was assessing areas around Karlsruhe Castle and, from September 2017, had begun seeking employment as a delivery driver – without success,” the police statement said.
In 2015, the suspect travelled to Iraq to fight for Daesh, receiving weapons training and working as a scout seeking potential attack targets in the city of Irbil, police said. He returned to Germany the following year.
Before leaving for Iraq, Dasbar worked for Daesh from Germany, producing propaganda videos and proselytising to converts in online chat rooms, police said.
Earlier this month, Germany’s security service warned that the number of Salafists – followers of a radical Islamist ideology – had risen to an all-time high of 10,800, though the number prepared to mount attacks was in the order of hundreds.
Earlier this week, police in Britain raided five homes as part of an anti-terror operation to foil a suspected Christmas terror plot. An army bomb squad was deployed following a raid in Chesterfield and there were also operations by counter-terror officers in three parts of Sheffield.