Attack in Poland foiled

Attack in Poland foiled

WARSAW - Reuters
Attack in Poland foiled

A combination of photos show evidence taken by police of a planned attack in Warsaw. A radical nationalist was nabbed before the raid on politicians. REUTERS photo

Polish officials said yesterday they had arrested a radical nationalist who planned to detonate a vehicle loaded with four tons of explosives outside Parliament, possibly when the president and prime minister were in the building.

The suspected plot was the first of its kind to be exposed since Poland threw off Communist rule more than 20 years ago. It is likely to put scrutiny on radical right-wing groups in Poland that are opposed to the liberal government, Reuters reported.

Polish television, citing sources close to the investigation, said the suspect planned to copy methods used by Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in bomb and gun attacks in Norway last year and was driven by far-right views. “We know that the possible targets were to be the president, the Parliament and the government,” Pawel Gras, a government spokesman said.

Prosecutors said the man, a 45-year-old scientist who works for a university in the southern city of Krakow, had assembled a small arsenal of explosive material, guns and remote-controlled detonators and was trying to recruit others to help him.

‘Not true’ Poles

“The suspect does not belong to a political group or party. He claims that he was acting on nationalistic, anti-Semitic and xenophobic motives,” prosecutor Piotr Krason told a news conference.

“He believed that the current social and political situation in our country is moving in the wrong direction and that those in positions of power are ‘foreign’ … In his opinion they are not true Poles,” The Associated Press quoted Krason as saying.

If convicted he could face up to five years in prison.Two others working with the suspect were also arrested for the illegal possession of weapons and two more have been questioned.
“He carried out reconnaissance in the neighborhood of the Sejm [Parliament]. He collected explosives and materials for detonation,” Krason said.

Prosecutors produced evidence suggesting the unidentified suspect was planning a sophisticated attack. They showed reporters photographs of pistols and bags of ammunition, which they said he had bought in Poland and in Belgium. They also showed several vehicle license plates, both Polish and foreign, which they said had been found among his belongings.

They said the suspect had used his scientific background to assemble the explosives himself. “He is a specialist in the field,” prosecutor Krason said. Officials said that they had found explosive substances including hexogen and tetryl, as well as detonators that could be triggered remotely using a mobile telephone.

The dean of the Agricultural University in Krakow said the man had never given any reason for suspicion. “It never occurred to us that at our school there could be a person involved in such matters.
There were no indications that anything unusual was happening,” said Roman Sady. The suspect is refusing to be submitted to psychiatric testing, prosecutors said.