German authorities announced Thursday they have disrupted a plot to carry out an Islamic extremist-inspired attack in Germany using the deadly toxin ricin.
A 29-year-old Tunisian man was taken into custody on Tuesday, after police raided his apartment in Cologne, the Associated Press reported. The man, identified as Sief Allah H., had obtained materials needed to produce ricin and appears to have succeeded in producing small quantities of the toxin, prosecutors said.
“He procured 1,000 castor bean seeds online as well as an electronic coffee grinder,” prosecutors’ spokesman Markus Schmitt said, according to the AP. The shells of castor beans can be weaponized into a toxin that is highly fatal when inhaled or ingested.
Sief Allah H., whose last name was not released in accordance with German privacy laws, is not thought to be a member of a terrorist organization, prosecutors said. However, he was in communication with people who advocate violent jihad. (RELATED: Six Syrian Refugees Detained For Allegedly Planning Christmas Attack In Germany)
“He had contacts with people in the jihadist spectrum,” Schmitt said. He declined to elaborate on who those people are or where they are located, citing the ongoing investigation.
Sief Allah H. lived in Cologne with his wife, a convert to Islam, and four children. He is thought to have used instructions for the production of ricin that had been posted online by the Islamic State group, local media reported, according to the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
The wife, who has not been named, was initially taken into custody but was later released.
Sief Allah H. is being held on charges of violating the War Weapons Control Act and “preparing a serious act of violence against the state,” Deutsche Welle reported.
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