Iranian planning chemical weapons attack arrested in Germany

An Iranian citizen, 32, is suspected of preparing an "Islamist-motivated attack" using cyanide and ricin, according to local authorities.

 Employees of the Research Institute for Protective Technologies, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection (WIS) inspect a dummy sample which is contaminated with a substance similar to the chemical weapon Sarin, during a demonstration in Munster October 15, 2013. (photo credit: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)
Employees of the Research Institute for Protective Technologies, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection (WIS) inspect a dummy sample which is contaminated with a substance similar to the chemical weapon Sarin, during a demonstration in Munster October 15, 2013.
(photo credit: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

An Iranian national suspected of planning a terrorist attack using chemical weapons was arrested in Castrop-Rauxel, northeast of Düsseldorf, Germany, early Sunday morning, according to the Düsseldorf public prosecutor, the Recklinghausen police and the Münster police.

According to local authorities, the Iranian citizen, 32, is suspected of preparing an "Islamist-motivated attack" using cyanide and ricin. News reports in Germany claimed that the intelligence came from Israel's Mossad. 

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ricin is "one of the most toxic biological agents known" and is designated as a Schedule 1 chemical warfare agent.

The citizen and one other person have been arrested and evidence has been secured. The investigation is ongoing.

According to the German newspaper Die Welt, investigators raided the Iranian's residence at around midnight. The scene was cordoned off and police, fire brigade and rescue workers were at the scene, many of whom were wearing protective suits.

 Workers dressed in protective clothing, handle a dummy chemical World War Two weapon during a media demonstration at the Society for the Disposal of Chemical Weapons and Ordnance (GEKA) in Munster, March 5, 2014. (credit: FABIAN BIMMER / REUTERS) Workers dressed in protective clothing, handle a dummy chemical World War Two weapon during a media demonstration at the Society for the Disposal of Chemical Weapons and Ordnance (GEKA) in Munster, March 5, 2014. (credit: FABIAN BIMMER / REUTERS)

The evidence gathered by investigators was brought in blue barrels to a decontamination point set up by the fire department, according to Die Welt.

'Friendly intelligence service' reportedly tipped off German authorities

According to the German newspaper Bild, a "friendly intelligence service" informed German authorities about the danger of a chemical weapon attack. 

The newspaper added that the two suspects were taken by police while dressed only in boxer shorts and a makeshift jacket.

The Iranian national is facing charges of the "preparation of serious violent offense endangering the state" which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Germany accuses IRGC of state-sponsored terrorism against Jewish community

In November, German state security sources accused Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of contracting state-sponsored terrorism against German synagogues in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and spying on the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

The attacks involved a shooting, targeting a synagogue in Essen and a failed arson attack on a synagogue in Bochum.

The Jerusalem Post previously reported that the IRGC hired a Pakistani man to assassinate pro-Israel advocates in Germany and France.

Benjamin Weinthal contributed to this report.