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Syrian terror suspect faces German court

dpa logodpa 10/10/2016

A Syrian man has appeared in court in the eastern German city of Dresden after being arrested on terror charges.

A 22-year-old Syrian refugee suspected of planning a terrorist attack in Germany has appeared in court.

Jaber al-Bakr appeared before the court in Dresden on Monday after being arrested overnight in a raid on an apartment in the nearby city of Leipzig.

Police launched a manhunt for 22-year-old Jaber al-Bakr on Saturday after discovering hundreds of grams of explosives in an apartment in a communist-era housing block in Chemnitz.

"Tired but overjoyed: we captured the terror suspect last night in Leipzig!" police tweeted.

Police also said on Monday that a 33-year-old Syrian who was suspected of being an accomplice of al-Bakr, had now been arrested.

The 33-year-old man, who has not being named, was detained by police on the weekend and rented the Chemnitz apartment where the explosives were found.

Police have not confirmed German media reports that the plans included launching a terrorist attack on a German airport.

They have also refused to comment on reports that al-Bakr was in contact with the militant Islamic State group.

A prosecutors' spokeswoman on Sunday said the "overall picture" of the investigation so far indicated that an "Islamist-motivated attack" had been planned.

Al-Bakr, who narrowly avoided capture on Saturday morning during a police raid on the Chemnitz apartment, was caught after the authorities stormed the Leipzig apartment shortly after midnight.

The Syrian occupant of the Leipzig apartment had met Al-Bakr at the city's railway station and invited him to stay at his apartment before alerting police, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel.

Police have also been forced to defend their handling of Saturday's raid in Chemnitz in which al-Bakr had escaped saying that they had to proceed cautiously because the apartment building had not been evacuated.

The arrest of al-Bakr, who entered Germany illegally in February 2015 before gaining refugee status, also resulted in Chancellor Angela Merkel facing renewed political pressure from her critics.

About 890,000 refugees arrived in Germany in 2015, many fleeing Syria's five-year civil war, after Merkel opened up her nation's borders to allow refugees stranded in Hungary to travel to Germany.

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