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Germany Says It's Uncovered Terrorist Plot Using Model Planes

German officials say they've uncovered a radical Islamist plot to use remote-controlled model airplanes packed with explosives to carry out terrorist attacks in Germany.

Police carried out nine predawn raids in southern and eastern Germany as well as Belgium in search of evidence of what prosecutors allege was a plan for a "serious, state-threatening act of violence." There were no arrests.

The prosecutors say the plan involved at least two men, both of Tunisian origin. German N-TV says it interviewed neighbors of one of the men, who lives in a Munich apartment with his German wife. The neighbors described him as friendly but private.

Neither the suspects nor the targets of the planned attacks were identified by German authorities.

Attacks by Islamist extremists are rare in Germany, although in 2011, a Kosovo native who grew up in Germany fatally shot two U.S. airmen and wounded two others on a bus at Frankfurt International Airport.

It's also not the first time a foiled terrorist plot involved toy aircraft. Last November, Rezwan Ferdaus of Ashland, Mass., was sentenced to 17 years in prison for planning to fly remote-controlled model planes packed with explosives into the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Special correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is based in Berlin. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and read at NPR.org. From 2012 until 2018 Nelson was NPR's bureau chief in Berlin. She won the ICFJ 2017 Excellence in International Reporting Award for her work in Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.