Germany Searches for Chemicals after Arresting Iranian Brothers Accused of Terrorism

German criminal police confiscate evidence from the apartment of an Iranian detainee who was preparing a terrorist operation (AP)
German criminal police confiscate evidence from the apartment of an Iranian detainee who was preparing a terrorist operation (AP)
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Germany Searches for Chemicals after Arresting Iranian Brothers Accused of Terrorism

German criminal police confiscate evidence from the apartment of an Iranian detainee who was preparing a terrorist operation (AP)
German criminal police confiscate evidence from the apartment of an Iranian detainee who was preparing a terrorist operation (AP)

German authorities raided new sites in search of chemicals, a day after they had arrested two Iranian suspects who were preparing a terrorist attack using biological weapons, according to the Düsseldorf prosecutor’s office.

Police and investigators are still searching for evidence in the case, but they have not yet found any chemicals, according to security sources cited by the German news website, Der Spiegel.

Officials said Monday that, during searches of multiple locations in connection with the investigation, they found a package with unknown contents in a garage, which was to be removed for inspection. Some homes in the immediate vicinity were evacuated as a precaution.

Police agents raided the Iranians’ home in the city of Castrop-Rauxel, in western Germany’s North-Rhine Westphalia state, around midnight Saturday night after neighbors had reported suspicious activity.

Several police, firefighters and rescue workers took part, with many emergency personnel donning biochemical protection suits.

Despite the raid, authorities couldn’t find what they were looking for.

Two arrest warrants were issued against the Iranians, who are brothers, and the public prosecutor charged the main suspect in the case, Mounir J., a 32-year-old Iranian national, with preparing a terrorist attack because of his sympathy with ISIS.

The prosecution is accusing Mounir of wanting to make a biological bomb after possessing highly toxic materials, namely ricin and cyanide.

The police arrested the main suspect and his brother after obtaining information about their preparation for an imminent attack from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The involvement of the brother, who was arrested during the operation, remains unclear. According to German media, the main suspect wanted to carry out the attack on New Year's Eve.

He, however, was not able to obtain all the necessary materials in time.

The two brothers arrived in Germany in 2015 and applied for asylum.

According to media sources, the main suspect claimed that he was a Christian persecuted in Iran.



Israeli Polls Show Netanyahu Party Narrowing Gap Behind Gantz 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)
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Israeli Polls Show Netanyahu Party Narrowing Gap Behind Gantz 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz attends a news conference in the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Oct. 28, 2023. (AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right wing Likud party has reduced the gap behind the centrist party of former minister Benny Gantz, who quit the wartime unity government on Sunday, two polls showed on Friday.

The polls, for the left wing Ma'ariv daily and the right-wing Israel Hayom newspaper, showed Likud winning 21 seats behind the National Unity Party on 24. The Ma'ariv poll last week showed Gantz's party on 27 seats, while at the start of the year, it was regularly polling in the high 30s.

The Ma'ariv poll shows the current ruling coalition winning 52 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, against 58 for the main opposition parties, with the balance of 10 seats held by the United Arab List and the left-wing Hadash-Ta'al alliance.

The Israel Hayom poll put the coalition on 50 seats against 61 for the opposition parties and 9 for the UAL and Hadash-Ta'al.

Both polls showed a majority of voters would prefer Gantz as prime minister in a head-to-head choice with Netanyahu. However, the Israel Hayom poll showed that if former prime minister Naftali Bennett were to join forces with Avigdor Liberman and Gideon Saar, two other center right politicians from outside the Likud camp, their alliance could beat both Likud and Gantz's National Unity Party.

Gantz, a former army general and defense minister in the last government, joined Netanyahu's coalition last year as a gesture of national unity following the devastating attack by Hamas on Oct 7.

However, he clashed repeatedly with other ministers and quit the government after demanding Netanyahu articulate a clear strategic plan for the war in Gaza, now in its ninth month.

Netanyahu, who was widely blamed for the security failures that allowed the Oct. 7 attack to take place, has refused to call early elections and would not normally face voters until 2026 if his coalition with a clutch of religious and right-wing pro-settler parties holds.