Syrian terror suspect Jaber al-Bakr found dead in cell in Germany

Pictures of a person believed to be Jaber al-Bakr released by German police Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Police released pictures of the suspect after Saturday's raid on his flat

A Syrian migrant suspected of planning a bomb attack on a Berlin airport has killed himself in his prison cell in Leipzig, Germany, officials say.

Saxony's state justice ministry said Jaber al-Bakr was found dead and that an investigation had been launched.

He had been turned in to police on Monday by three Syrian refugees after being on the run for two days.

German police had been watching him for months, but failed to arrest him when they raided his flat on Saturday.

Since his arrest, Jaber al-Bakr, 22, had been on hunger strike and was under round-the-clock surveillance, news website Der Spiegel reported.

Call to reward Syrian refugees who arrested fugitive

He was granted asylum after coming to Germany last year.

German intelligence received reports last week that he might be planning an attack, and they alerted police in the eastern state of Saxony.

Authorities said they discovered last Thursday that the suspect had used the internet to get bomb-making instructions and had obtained explosives.

The BBC's Damien McGuinness in Berlin says al-Bakr's death will now make it even more difficult for police to find concrete information about his plans and about any possible accomplices.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Jaber al-Bakr was under round-the-clock surveillance at the prison in Leipzig
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Locals watched the police operation at the Chemnitz apartment block where al-Bakr lived

When police raided the flat in the eastern city of Chemnitz, they found 1.5kg of TATP, a home-made explosive used in the deadly jihadist attacks in Paris last year and in Brussels last March. The explosives were "extremely dangerous", police said.

But al-Bakr managed to slip the net, and made his way to the city of Leipzig where he asked the Syrians for help.

The three told police they had heard about the manhunt and tied him up while one of them knelt on him.

They alerted police who finally managed to arrest him.

Since then there have been calls for authorities to honour the three. Bild newspaper described them as "the Syrian heroes from Leipzig".

The authorities believe al-Bakr had links to the group that calls itself Islamic State.

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