Xmas Market Terrorists Pal Planned Shopping Centre Blast

Story ByKoen BerghuisSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCEN

This suspected terrorist and close friend of Christmas market attacker Anis Amri is in the dock for hoarding bombs which cops believe he was planning to use to blow up a shopping centre.

The Russian citizen, only identified as 31-year-old Magomed-Ali C., was reportedly a close friend of Berlin Christmas market terrorist Anis Amri and prayed with him in the fundamentalist ‘Fussilet 33’ mosque in the German capital which has since been closed.

Magomed-Ali C. has been charged with “preparing a serious violent act of subversion and preparing a crime with explosives” and is currently standing trial at a court in Berlin.

Pictures Credit: CEN

The prosecutor’s office wrote: “The accused is suspected of having kept a significant amount of the explosive TATP (triacetone triperoxide) in his Berlin flat in October 2016.”

TATP is an organic peroxide and highly explosive and is a favourite among terrorists as it is difficult to detect and can be made from elements readily available in DIY-stores such as acetone, hydrogen peroxide and sulfuric acid, even though it is complicated and dangerous to mix the substances.

An investigator with the German intelligence services quoted in local media said that TATP is known as the “mother of Satan” among terrorists and just one kilogram could cause “death and injuries within 50 meters or more”.

Prosecutors suspect that Magomed Ali-C., who previously lived in the Islamic Russian federal state of Dagestan, was targetting the Gesundbrunnen shopping centre in the Berlin borough of Wedding, with the stockpiled explosives being enough to blow up the entire building.

They said that the Russian wanted to “commit an Islamist motivated attack in Germany to kill as many people as possible” to “fuel a climate of fear and uncertainty with the population of the Federal Republic of Germany”.

Pictures Credit: CEN

Magomed Ali-C. Arrived in Germany in 2011. His asylum application was rejected but on 7th December 2017 he heard from the authorities that he would be “tolerated” to stay until December 2019 due to an unspecified “psychological illness”.

Police investigators, however, started to watch over Magomed-Ali C.’s moves when he was put on a watch list.

As the Russian national feared he would be discovered, he broke off the preparations for the attack and stopped stockpiling TATP in his flat, according to prosecutors.

Magomed-Ali C. was eventually arrested in August 2018, but at that time investigators found his flat empty and could no longer find or even detect the TATP. It is still unknown where the explosives are.

The public prosecutor’s admitted that there is no hard evidence against Magomed-Ali C. but said that witness statements and a “wealth of different evidence” is enough to bring him to trial.

Prosecutors said that Magomed-Ali C. worked together with French national Clement Baur on the attack preparations.

He allegedly met Baur in the small but highly active Islamist scene in the Belgian city of Verviers in 2013, with Baur arriving in Berlin at the end of 2015.

The prosecutor’s office wrote: “In search of further accomplices, they came in contact with Anis Amri, the later terrorist attacker of the Breitscheidplatz [Christmas market], at the end of 2015.”

Baur fled to France when the suspected terrorists feared that their plot was foiled. 

He was arrested in April 2017 in the Southern French port city of Marseille while in the possession of 3 kilos of TATP and several firearms and is currently locked up in investigative custody.

It is expected that Baur will appear as a witness in the trial of his former accomplice.

Magomed-Ali C. has remained silent so far about all allegations.

His lawyer Tarig Elobied said: “He will defend himself in silence.”

There are 30 trial days planned, with the verdict expected on 20th December.