BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on a series of attacks in Germany (all times local):
Authorities say they searched a room at a refugee accommodation center in southwestern Germany after a 20-year-old Syrian man allegedly boasted of having contacts with the Islamic State group and said he had fought in Syria.
Prosecutors and police in Stuttgart said two cellphones were seized in Thursday’s search in the Heidenheim area and were being evaluated. The Syrian, who had no previous police record, was released following the search.
Authorities say there were never any indications of any possible plans for an attack.
Germany is on edge after four attacks in the space of week, two of which were claimed by IS.
Bavarian officials have presented an anti-terror plan following four attacks in Germany in a week, two of which were claimed by the Islamic State extremist group.
Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said Thursday that his state — where three of the four attacks took place — would hire 2,000 additional police officers until 2020, improve police equipment and create new offices to fight Muslim extremism and cybercrime.
He also called for tougher background checks on asylum-seekers and new strategies to deport criminal asylum-seekers more easily. Three of the four attacks were committed by asylum-seekers.
Bavarian Justice Minister Winfried Bausback said at a news conference with Herrmann: “The threat of Salafist terrorism has arrived in Europe, in Germany, but also in Bavaria.”
Germany’s commissioner for immigration, refugees and integration is calling on mosques across the country to be more pro-active when it comes to preventing extremism among Muslim youths.
Aydan Ozoguz said in an interview Thursday with the daily Heilbronner Stimme: “We need to hold mosques more responsible when it comes to prevention among teenagers.”
Ozoguz’ call against Muslim extremism came after four violent attacks that shook the country recently.
Two of them were the first in Germany claimed by the extremist Islamic State group. The attackers were asylum-seekers who hadn’t grown up in Germany.
On Wednesday night, police raided a mosque believed to be a “hot spot” for Islamic extremists in the city of Hildesheim. The raid didn’t appear to be connected to the recent attacks.