BERLIN – A German Islamist in Turkey has been arrested after a deadly attack on a police roadblock late last week. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE one of the suspects is the German national Benjamin X., who the German authorities long ago classified as an Islamist offender.
Since the fall of 2013, the Berlin public prosecutor have suspected the 18-year-old Berlin resident of possible preparation of terrorist offenses under Clause 89 of the Criminal Code.
The Turkish authorities believe that the attack on the police roadblock in the southern Anatolian province of Nigde, only about an hour away from the Syrian border, was Islamist-motivated.
In Germany the authorities have examined evidence and they have found that in the last few months Benjamin X. joined the al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group ISIS. ISIS is fighting in Syria not only against the government forces of Bashar al-Assad fights, but also against moderate rebel groups.
The shooting in Turkey, in which three people, including two policemen, were killed, occurred on March 20. According to Turkish media a vehicle with several men headed for the police roadblock. The occupants then immediately opened fire on the policemen.
The German Islamist was apparently the driver. In his first interrogation he denied involvement in the fatal shooting. In addition, he said he was under the influence of drugs and took little notice of the action.
The other men in the car, however, boasted at their first court date in Turkey about the murder. “I’m not accountable to anyone but Allah. I will give no testimony. ‘You are all infidels’,” he was quoted as saying by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.
Another man, not in the car, a Swiss national from Macedonia, spoke before a judge of this “good deed” against the enemy. Benjamin X., he said, had only driven the car when his companions suddenly opened fire on the policemen.
The German authorities are in close contact with their Turkish colleagues after the incident. From a German perspective, Benjamin X. apparently belongs to a group of German Islamists who have joined radical groups in Syria in recent months to fight there against the government troops. According to Turkish media, the men were in a taxi going to the border region with Syria. The border is guarded by Turkey, but may be crossed easily.
Security officials estimate that about 300 Islamists from Germany have traveled to Syria and there joined the radical groups. About a dozen of them fighting in the civil war there – usually with ISIS. More than 20 Germans have been killed so far according to intelligence estimates. The German authorities are particularly concerned that people returning to Germany from fighting in Syria are radicalized and could be planning attacks at home.
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Note: Edited Google Translate, with extra dictionary help.
Benjamin? Sounds like a convert.