German Police Arrest Suspected Terrorist, ‘Osama the German,’ for Plotting Truck Attack on Pro-Israel Rally: Report

The Duisburg native reportedly wanted to die a martyr in an attack on a rally at North Rhine-Westphalia.

Monika Skolimowska/dpa via AP
People, one draped in an Israeli flag take part in a demonstration against antisemitism and to show solidarity with Israel, in front of the Brandenburg Gate at Berlin Sunday. Monika Skolimowska/dpa via AP

Armed federal agents in Germany raided the home of a Hamas sympathizer at Duisburg who was allegedly planning to attack a pro-Israel demonstration in the coming days, according to a report in the German press.

Berlin’s Bild newspaper reports Tuesday that authorities arrested a terrorist that goes by the name Tarik S. after foreign intelligence agencies alerted them to online chatter by the Duisburg native suggesting that he wanted to die a martyr in an attack on a rally in North Rhine-Westphalia. The intent was to drive a truck through the rally and injure and kill as many as possible, according to the report.

Bild quotes German intelligence officials as saying that the suspect was inspired by an Islamist attack at Brussels last week that left two Swedish football fans dead. Police in France charged two men in connection with that attack, during which the 45-year-old Tunisian man was killed, Tuesday.

German officials believe Tarik S. was radicalized by jihadist cells in the German city of Herford. He traveled to Syria via Turkey in 2013 to join ISIS and took on the nom-de-guerre “Osama the German” and appeared in one video beside a decapitated victim. He was arrested upon his return to Germany in 2016 and sentenced to five years in prison in 2017.

Germany has seen a significant increase in the number of reported antisemitic incidents since the war in Israel began October 7. Police there have responded by banning most rallies expressing support for Hamas and the Palestinians, and schools in Berlin have banned students from wearing Palestinian flags, kufiyas, and “Free Palestine” stickers.

After assailants threw two Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in central Berlin and vandals attached Stars of David to the facades of several buildings, Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, vowed a “zero tolerance” approach to antisemitism.

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