Tip from public helped Germany foil ricin attack plot

BERLIN (AP) — A call from the public was key to foiling an Islamic extremist's plan to use the toxin ricin to carry out a deadly attack in Germany, security officials said today.

The head of the country's domestic intelligence agency said a phone-in tip helped authorities confirm their suspicions about a 29-year-old Tunisian man in the city of Cologne. The suspect, named only as Sief Allah H. in line with German privacy laws, was arrested last week and remains in custody.

Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the BfV intelligence agency, said the alleged plot showed that the danger of an attack in Germany remains high.

According to federal prosecutors, about 3,150 castor bean seeds and 84.3 milligrams of ricin were found in the suspect's apartment along with the components needed to make a bomb.

Tiny amounts of ricin can kill an adult if eaten, injected or inhaled.

Prosecutors alleged that H. bought the seeds online and used instructions posted online by the Islamic State group to make ricin.

The suspect, who is married to a German woman, allegedly was in contact with Islamic radicals and twice tried to travel to Syria last year, investigators said. They are trying to determine if he was part of a coordinated extremist plot or acted on his own.

German security agencies first were warned about the man by foreign intelligence agencies, but the information provided wasn't conclusive enough to act upon, authorities said.

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