October 10, 2016 / 12:27 PM / 10 months ago

Syrian refugee planned attacks similar to Paris, Brussels - Germany

A view of a residential bulding in Leipzig, Germany October 10, 2016 where German police had captured a man suspected of planning a bomb attack.Oliver Ellrodt

BERLIN (Reuters) - A Syrian refugee arrested in Germany after explosives were found in a flat in the city of Chemnitz was planning to carry out attacks similar in scale to those in Brussels in March and in Paris last year, the German interior minister said on Monday.

"According to what we know, the preparations in Chemnitz are similar to the preparations for the attacks in Paris and Brussels," Thomas de Maiziere said in a statement.

Joerg Michaelis, president of the Saxony state criminal investigation office, separately told a news conference that the 22-year-old refugee was most likely inspired by Islamic State.

"The behavior of the suspect speaks for an IS (Islamic State) context," he said.

Islamic State gunmen and bombers killed some 130 people in the French capital in November and the militant group claimed responsibility for suicide bomb attacks in the Belgian capital four months later that left at least 30 people dead.

Reporting by Joseph Nasr and Paul Carrel

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