Germany charges Russian man over alleged extremist bomb plot

BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors said Tuesday they have charged a Russian national with plotting an Islamic extremist bombing in Germany with an alleged accomplice arrested in France for involvement in a separate planned attack there.

The pair were associates for a time of Anis Amri, a Tunisian who carried out an attack on a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016 in which 12 people were killed, but weren’t aware of his plans for that rampage, federal prosecutors said.

The 31-year-old, who was identified only as Magomed-Ali C. because of German privacy laws and was arrested in August, was charged at a Berlin court with preparing an act of violence and preparing an explosion.

He is accused of storing a “not insignificant” but unspecified amount of the explosive TATP at his Berlin apartment in October 2016, with which he and alleged accomplice Clement B. are believed to have planned to carry out an attack in Germany.

Prosecutors said Magomed-Ali C. arrived in Germany in late 2011 and was already an Islamic extremist then. They said that he spent time at a now-closed radical Berlin mosque and decided to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group, but that plan was foiled when local police got wind of it in 2015 and Berlin’s office for foreigners barred him from leaving Germany.

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Magomed-Ali C. then decided to carry out an attack in Germany and linked up with Clement B., whom he had met during a visit to Belgium, prosecutors said. In late 2015, as they sought further accomplices, they came into contact with Amri.

Both C. and B. allegedly acquired TATP or produced it themselves and planned to produce a bomb. Amri joined the plot in October 2016, but the other two abandoned their plans later that month, fearing that police were on to them.

The two parted ways, and B. went to France to pursue an attack there — a plan that German prosecutors said was supposed to be coordinated with Amri but wasn’t implemented. B. was arrested in Marseille in April 2017 over plans to carry out an attack in France, with several weapons and 3 kilograms (6.61 pounds) of TATP.

Prosecutors said that the C. and B. didn’t know about Amri’s plan for the Dec. 19, 2016 Christmas market attack in Berlin, which he carried out using a commandeered truck. Amri fled the scene of the attack and was killed days later in a shootout with police in Italy.

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