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A terrorism investigation was launched in Germany on Thursday after police discovered bomb-making materials in the possession of a 16-year-old boy suspected of planning an attack at a school.
The boy was arrested in his room in a pre-dawn raid with his parents present and was subsequently questioned as a terrorism investigation was launched, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said. The parents were also interrogated.
Herbert Reul, the interior minister of the state of North Rhine Westphalia, said bomb-making materials, other explosive substances and far-right extremist writings had been discovered during a raid of the teen’s home in the city of Essen.
The finds included anti-Muslim written material and the double-S runes displayed on the collars of Nazi-era SS uniforms. Police found 16 pipes, some of them filled with timepieces and nails.  Other materials found in the boy’s home could be interpreted “as an urgent cry for help from a desperate young man (with) massive psychological problems and suicidal thoughts,” Reul said.
Shortly after the raid, police launched a large-scale operation at two Essen schools, the Don-Bosco-Gymnasium and the Realschule am Schloss Borbeck. The police had likely “prevented a nightmare,” Reul said.
The search failed to turn up any suspicious objects.
The minister added that the bomb-making materials had not included a fuse, meaning that the explosive device had been “functional, but not operational.” Hundreds of pupils at the schools turned up for their morning lessons to find the entrances closed off as police used sniffer dogs to check for traces of explosives.
Speaking to dpa, Reul said there was as yet no evidence of accomplices. But he added: “Nevertheless, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and glorification of Nazism cannot be excused.” Reul declined to reveal how the police had uncovered the plot.
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