German police arrest three suspects over ‘planned terror attack near Frankfurt’

Three alleged supporters of the terror group Isis have been arrested in the western German state of Hesse for reportedly planning a deadly attack in the Rhine-Main region.

German police arrest three suspects over 'planned terror attack near Frankfurt'
Archive photo shows Hesse police in May. Photo: DPA

Searches and seizures of materials belonging to the suspects took place on Tuesday at three apartments in Offenbach, according to the public prosecutor's office in Frankfurt am Main.

The men between the ages of 21 and 24 are alleged to have made preparations for an attack involving explosives or firearms.

READ ALSO: Terror in Germany: Investigators have foiled 13 attacks since 2010

According to the public prosecutor's office, a 24-year-old German of North Macedonian (formerly Macedonia) origin is the main suspect. 

He had procured “basic components for the production of explosives” and searched the Internet for firearms, the authority announced. 

Two men of Turkish citizenship aged 21 and 22 are also accused. All three men were to be brought before a judge on Tuesday, who would decide on detention awaiting a trial.

Terrorist attack planned in Rhine-Main region

According to the investigators, the men wanted to carry out an attack in the Rhine-Main area. It was alleged that they had already made themselves known to other people as Isis-followers.

They are accused of preparing for a serious crime that would endanger the state.

The raid involved some 170 officials, including special forces. In addition to data media and written documents, “explosives-relevant substances and equipment” were confiscated from the main suspect, according to the public prosecutor's office.

Germany has been on alert following several jihadist attacks in recent years claimed by terror group Isis.

The most deadly was committed in 2016 by a 23-year-old Tunisian who killed 12 people when he stole a truck and ploughed it through a Berlin Christmas market.

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.