Brother: Suspect looking forward to life in Germany

BERLIN  (AP) — A 22-year-old Syrian man suspected by German authorities of planning to carry out a bomb attack was looking forward to life in Germany the last time they spoke, his brother said Friday.

Jaber Albakr was found dead in a cell at Leipzig prison Wednesday, two days after being arrested on suspicion of plotting to attack a Berlin airport using homemade explosives.

But Alaa Albakr insisted that his brother had no violent intentions and that he would never have committed suicide because that is forbidden by Islam.

“He sounded like he was excited about life and like he was ready to resume his life in Germany,” he said of the last time he spoke to his younger brother.

The account he gave in a telephone interview from Syria was sharply at odds with the portrait painted this week by German officials, who cast Jaber Albakr as a pawn of the Islamic State group whose violent plans were only narrowly intercepted.

Federal prosecutors said Albakr, who was granted asylum in Germany last year, was planning to carry out an “Islamist-motivated attack.” Authorities found 1.5 kilograms of “extremely dangerous explosives” that could have been used to make a suicide vest at an apartment he had been staying at in the eastern city of Chemnitz.