German authorities said Monday that police had arrested a Syrian man who had allegedly asked the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group to fund an attack using explosives-packed vehicles, AFP reported.
The unemployed 38-year-old with refugee status had urged an ISIS contact via mobile phone message service Telegram to send him 180,000 euros ($188,000), prosecutors said.
Police commandos raided the suspect’s apartment in Saarbruecken near the French border around 2:00 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Saturday, New Year's Eve. He was detained before being formally arrested on terror financing charges Sunday, according to AFP.
The man's "as yet undefined attack scenario" suggested the use of explosives-packed vehicles in Germany, France, Belgium and The Netherlands, said police.
The German newspaper Spiegel Online reported the plan was to re-paint the vehicles to make them look like police patrol cars.
It named the suspect as Hasan A. and said his contact was located in ISIS’s de facto capital of Raqa, Syria.
The man had entered Germany in December 2014 and applied for asylum in January 2015, obtaining refugee status and a residency permit, prosecutors said in a statement.
Last month he reportedly asked an ISIS contact in Syria to send him the money "so he could purchase vehicles which he could load with explosives and which he wanted to drive into crowds... and blow up in order to kill unknown numbers of people who do not follow the Muslim faith".
According to messages found on his phone, the man said each vehicle would be re-painted and packed with 400-500 kilograms (880-1,100 pounds) of explosives at a cost of 22,500 euros each, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors added that the man had "admitted contact with ISIS but denied terrorist motives" -- suggesting that he claimed to have attempted to defraud the extremist group.
Germany is already under a high-threat terrorist alert following a series of attacks which hit the country this past summer.
In the first attack, a 17-year-old Afghani with an ax attacked passengers on a train in Wurzburg before being shot dead by security forces.
In the second incident, an attacker set off a bomb in a restaurant in Ansbach, killing himself and wounding 12 others.
Most recently, terrorist Anis Amri drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 48. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack.
AFP contributed to this report.