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German interior minister lauds detention of terror suspect

November 3, 2016
Cars park in front of a house in Berlin Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 the day after a man was arrested there on suspicion of membership in a terrorist organization. (Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP)
Cars park in front of a house in Berlin Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 the day after a man was arrested there on suspicion of membership in a terrorist organization. (Michael Kappeler/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s top security official praised the detention of a suspected member of the Islamic State group in Berlin, saying Thursday that it shows authorities are being vigilant and doing “everything to avoid terrorist attacks in Germany.”

The man, who claims to be 27 and from Syria, was taken into custody late Wednesday on suspicion of being a member of IS.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Thursday, “it is very good this person has been taken out of circulation.”

He said the suspect had been under surveillance for a while, but didn’t give further details.

The federal prosecutor’s office, which handles terrorism cases, identified the man as Ashraf Al-T. It didn’t give his last name in keeping with German privacy rules. It said that information from Germany’s domestic intelligence agency triggered the investigation.

The suspect is believed to have been in contact with a member of IS in Syria who is responsible for operations abroad, prosecutors said in a statement. He is believed to have received permission to plan an attack in Germany soon, they added.

The man, who has lived in Germany since 2015, was being brought before a judge Thursday to determine whether there is enough evidence to keep him in custody pending formal charges.

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