Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Syrian Suspect In Cologne Train Station Siege Planned "Far Greater Damage"
The Syrian suspect in Monday's firebombing and hostage crisis at the central train station in Cologne, Germany, reportedly hoped to inflict "far greater damage" with explosives.
Cologne's public prosecutor has announced the suspect, who remains in hospital, is charged with attempted murder and hostage-taking following a siege during which the man shouted in Arabic and claimed he belongs to ISIS, Die Welt reports.
According to new details revealed by senior police official Klaus-Stephan Becker, the Syrian was transporting multiple explosives and accelerants in a suitcase that also contained gas cartridges and steel balls.
"The city apparently escaped an arson attack of immense destructive power," Kronen Zeitung reports.
Officials confirmed the suspect has lived in Germany since 2015 under 'asylum' status and has a lengthy rap sheet of offenses including theft, assault and trespassing.
The attack unfolded at a McDonald's near the central rail station, where the suspect reportedly threw a Molotov cocktail inside, setting fire to a 14-year-old girl whose burns were so serious, she required immediate surgery.
"At midday… we were informed about the situation that took place in a fast food restaurant at the central station in Cologne," said Klaus Rueschenschmidt, head of the hostage rescue operation. "According to our information, the criminal lit a Molotov cocktail in the restaurant. As a result, a 14-year-old girl was wounded. She's in hospital with burns."
The Syrian eventually took a woman hostage at a pharmacy in the train station, according to reports, dousing her in gasoline and threatening to set her alight if his demands weren't met, that reportedly included the release of a Tunisian associate from prison.
"Special forces officers shot down the offender as he was apparently trying to set his female hostage on fire," Die Welt reports.
Police are now conducting anti-terror raids and searching for a motive.
"The investigation's considering all possibilities and we're not ruling out terrorism," said a police spokesperson.
at 2:20 PM