BERLIN (Reuters) – German police arrested on Wednesday four suspected members of Islamic State, all from Tajikistan, believed to have been planning deadly attacks in Germany, prosecutors said.
Special forces in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia made the arrests near the cities of Essen and Duesseldorf and raided properties in the area.
Prosecutors suspect the four men, with a fifth who has been in detention for the last year, of being in contact with leading members of Islamic State in Afghanistan and Syria and of receiving instructions from them.
“Targets for the attacks were supposed to be institutions of U.S forces in Germany or even individual people,” said prosecutors in their statement.
“In particular, they planned a murder attack on one person who had made public comments that they viewed as being critical of Islam,” the prosecutors added.
The prosecutors said they believed the suspects had already carried out surveillance of the targeted individual and were procuring weapons, ammunition and components for a bomb.
Prosecutors identified the suspects as Azizjon B., Muhammadali G., Farhodshoh K. and Sunatullokh K., in line with German privacy rules. The fifth man who is already in detention was identified as Ravsan B.
Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Peter Graff