A Syrian teenager detained in the German city of Cologne had ties to Islamic State militants and had been planning a bomb attack, police said Wednesday.
The 16-year-old asylum seeker was taken into custody earlier in the day in the Porz district of Cologne, where he was living in refugee accommodation.
The suspect expressed "unequivocal willingness" to commit a bomb attack in online chats, Cologne police spokesman Klaus-Stephan Becker said during a press conference.
Police chief Juergen Mathies added that the Syrian teen had received "very concrete directions" on how to build an explosive device, but that there was no evidence to suggest he already possessed the necessary materials.
Officials said an evaluation of the boy's mobile phone showed he had been in contact with an Islamic State operative located outside Germany and that he had been radicalized within a short period of time.
"The federal and state security services are vigilant and aim to take action sooner rather than too late," said Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière.
"This is the general approach and it was successful in this case, and will continue to be successful in the future," he said.
The teenager fled the war in Syria with his parents and sister and was first registered on January 4, 2015.
He came to the attention of police in June, when his behaviour was said to have changed markedly. Following a second check by police, the decision was made to detain him.
Germany has been on high alert since two terrorist attacks occurred in the space of one week in July. Both were claimed by the Islamic State group and carried out by asylum seekers.