- 29-year-old Tunisian, identified only as Sief Allah H, was arrested on Wednesday
- He had ‘started procuring material including seeds needed for creation of ricin’
- Police who searched Cologne flat said he succeeded in creating toxin this month
- Probe continuing into how suspect planned to substance, but prosecutors say he was working on an attack in Germany
A plot to carry out a biological attack using ricin has been foiled in Germany, officials say.
A 29-year-old Tunisian, identified only as Sief Allah H, was arrested on Wednesday before a search took place in his apartment in Cologne.
Investigators say he started procuring material online including seeds needed for the creation of ricin in mid-May. They said he succeeded in creating the toxin this month and investigators found it in the search of his flat.
They are still investigating how the suspect planned to use the toxin, but said he was working on an attack in Germany.
German news weekly Der Spiegel reported that Sief Allah H. was thought to have been following instructions disseminated by ISIS on how to build a bomb containing ricin. They did not comment on a report that American intelligence tipped off German investigators.
He procured 1,000 seeds from a variety of bean online as well as an electronic coffee grinder, prosecutors said. Parts of the bean are highly poisonous and can be used to create ricin.
The Bild newspaper reported that the suspect bought bomb-making material and chemicals used in the production of the ricin.
Ricin has no known antidote and is one of the world’s most lethal toxins. It is 6,000 times more powerful than cyanide.
The case comes less than a month after French authorities said they had foiled a terror attack possibly involving the use of ricin. Two brothers of Egyptian origin were arrested.
Germany remains on high alert for jihadist attacks after several assaults claimed by ISIS in the country.
In the worst such attack, Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri rammed a truck into crowds at a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016, killing 12.