German police hunt Syrian-born man feared to be planning bomb attack

October 8, 2016 7:07 AM EDT

German special policemen search a housing area in the eastern city of Chemnitz on suspicion that a bomb attack was being planned in Germany, October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German police hunting for a Syrian-born man suspected of planning a bomb attack found explosives in an apartment they raided while looking for him on Saturday, officials said.

Police appealed to the public to call them with any information on Jaber Albakr, 22, who was last seen in the eastern city of Chemnitz wearing a black hooded top with a bright pattern on the front.

"The search for the suspect is ongoing," Saxony state police tweeted. "At the moment, however, we do not know where he is and what he is carrying with him. Be careful."

Police detained three people in Chemnitz who they said were known to Albakr, but he remained at large.

"Questioning (of the detainees) is continuing. The results are still to come," said Tom Bernhardt, spokesman for the Saxony state criminal investigation office.

Bernhardt said police did not immediately find the several hundred grams of explosives when searching the apartment as they were well hidden.

Hundreds of police including specialist commandos combed a residential area in Chemnitz looking for Albakr.

The police deployment followed a tip-off from the domestic intelligence service, though the "where, when, how and why" of the planned attack remained unclear, said Bernhardt.

Police asked local residents to remain indoors and began evacuating more people after discovering the explosives. Bernhardt said it was unclear how many suspects might be involved.

In late July, Islamic State claimed responsibility for attacks on a train near Wuerzburg and at a music festival in Ansbach which wounded 20 people.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; writing by Paul Carrel; editing by Andrew Roche and Susan Thomas)

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