German federal prosecutor takes charge of bomb suspect investigation

The German Federal Prosecutor's Office on Sunday has taken over the investigation in the eastern city of Chemnitz of a suspected planned bomb attack which they are labelling an act of Islamist terrorism.

"The overall picture of the investigations, especially the amount of the explosive material found, points in the direction of a person who has planned to carry out an Islamist-motivated attack," a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor's Office said.

The statement came as a nationwide manhunt was triggered by the discovery of explosives in the Chemnitz flat of 22-year-old Jaber al-Bakr.

The Syrian man, who according to investigators in the state of Saxony, arrived in Germany as a refugee is suspected of planning a bomb attack and is currently on the run.

Police special forces have searched a second flat, one of several contact addresses for the suspect, on Sunday for explosives, but found none, a spokesman said.

Police detained a man from the latter location and are now questioning him.

Three other Syrian men including the lessee of al-Bakr' flat were detained Saturday. The lessee remains in police custody while the two others were released Sunday.

Police have not confirmed German media reports that the main suspect al-Baker had been in contact with the Islamic State terrorist group via internet and may have been in discussions with them over a possible target.

Security sources told dpa Saturday that there was a suspected connection to Islamic State.

Police have also refused to comment on a report by Focus magazine that a German airport was the intended target of an attack. Security was beefed up at both Tegel and Schoenefeld airports in Berlin late Saturday.

Some 890,000 migrants arrived in the country in 2015, many of whom had fled the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Germany has been on high alert since two terrorist attacks occurred over the course of one week in July. Both were claimed by Islamic State militants and carried out by asylum seekers.

At least five Islamist attacks have been thwarted by German police since 2007.

Last update: Sun, 09/10/2016 - 20:23

More from Europe

Austria's Green candidate for president defeats far-right rival

Austrians opted for a pro-European president by electing Green candidate Alexander Van der Bellen on Sunday with 53....

Hero to zero? Italy's Renzi puts career on the line in referendum

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi risks becoming Europe's youngest political has-been if Sunday's constitutional...

Ten facts about Italy's constitutional referendum

Italians will vote Sunday on a constitutional referendum that could result in major institutional changes or trigger...

Austrian presidential candidates optimistic as country repeats vote

The far-right and Green contenders for the Austrian presidency were both optimistic on Sunday as citizens cast their...

Van der Bellen, a fervent European and a former refugee child

Alexander Van der Bellen won the Austrian presidency with a pro-European platform that also championed the rights of...