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Suspect may have planned German attacks

A terror suspect may have planned attacks on German President Joachim Gauck, pictured in 2014 visiting Geneva, and the presidential residence. Keystone

Authorities are checking reports that a suspected Islamic State-linked terrorist taken into custody in Switzerland a year ago may have planned attacks on German President Joachim Gauck and the presidential residence.

This content was published on May 23, 2015 - 14:48
swissinfo.ch and agencies

The police had arrested the 27-year-old Iraqi man in March 2014 in Beringen, a small industrialised community in the northernmost Swiss canton of Schauffhausen along the German border.

He has been held on charges that he intended to commit crimes using explosives and toxic gases. The Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona extended his detention recently based on his alleged self-portrayal as a "popular and respected” IS-affiliated fighter.

According to media reports, investigators in Switzerland and Germany who are working on the case have assumed, after studying some seized electronic communications, that he was in Switzerland to build an IS-linked terror cell in a region where it is easy to slip across borders and into heavily forested areas.

German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost and Der Westen news site reported on Saturday that the "suspected senior IS-terrorist" may have been planning an attack on Gauck.

Other potential targets, according to the suspect’s electronic communications which also had links to IS attacks in Syria, appear to have been a German military hospital, a Bayer chemical building and Bellevue Palace in Berlin – the official residence for the German president.

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