Irishman held in Germany on suspicion of planning attack

Frankfurt police arrested man following raid in which range of weapons were discovered

Some of the weapons seized in the operation. Photograph: Frankfurt police

Some of the weapons seized in the operation. Photograph: Frankfurt police

 

A 53 year-old Irishman is being held on remand in Frankfurt on suspicion of planning a violent attack using a crossbow, swords and firearms.

Frankfurt police say they arrested the unnamed man following a raid last Friday on an abandoned area of the city filled with abandoned cars, shipping containers and caravans. On the site they found a cache including gas pistols, spears and other weapons they said were “suited to an attack”.

Two images of the weapons recovered include nine swords and 14 firearms, including automatic weapons, a rifle and six handguns.

Frankfurt police have identified the man as the author of a series of letters to various authorities in the state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is located. The letters varied in tone and content from confused to threatening.

“In the letters, he complained about alleged injustices on the part of the state authorities,” Frankfurt police said in a statement. The letters were peppered with random experts from legal texts which the police said indicated psychological problems.

Some of the weapons seized in the operation. Photograph: Frankfurt police
Some of the weapons seized in the operation. Photograph: Frankfurt police

A second police theory linked the man to Germany’s Reichsbürger scene, a small group of mostly far-right extremists who refuse to recognise the modern German state. Police say there is no firm proof to date of any Reichsbürger connection, but they decided to act after the letters became more concrete in their threats on Monday of last week.

“In letters with identical contents sent to several authorities, the suspect announced the intention to carry out an unspecified attack,” Frankfurt police added.

These last letters prompted Frankfurt police to begin a hunt for the man. He was tracked down to an allotment to the north of the city centre and brought before a remand judge.

In a major police operation last Friday, investigators surrounded and searched another site and came upon the weapons cache.

They added that the 53 year-old is being held on remand accused of “preparation of a serious violent attack of danger to the state”.