‘Expel all terror planners from Germany,’ Merkel’s potential successor says, as Syrian teen is accused of plot to attack synagogue
“Whoever integrates here, should integrate, learn German and also have a job, and should be allowed to stay. But those who plan terrorist acts must be expelled from the country,” Armin Laschet, who serves as minister-president of the northwestern North Rhine-Westphalia region, said. “It must be clear as daylight. That’s what [the CDU] stands for.”
Laschet’s comments came after four men were arrested in the western city of Hagen over an alleged plot to attack a synagogue on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.
On Thursday evening, police said that three of those arrested had been released, while the main suspect, a 16-year-old of Syrian origin, remains in custody. German media reported that the young man has communicated with a prominent Islamist base abroad, who consulted the suspect on how to make explosives.
“Thank God, we have discovered [the plot] in advance and stepped up our security efforts,” Laschet said, recalling an attack in Halle three years ago, when a far-right extremist killed two people after failing to enter a synagogue on Yom Kippur.
“The fight against international terrorism continues to be one of the great challenges of our time,” the politician said.
Laschet was elected as CDU’s leader in January, which means he will likely succeed Merkel as chancellor if the party performs well during the September 26 general election.
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