The trial of an alleged Islamic State fighter accused of scouting for potential extremist targets in Berlin opened in the German capital on Wednesday under heavy security.
Prosecutors say the 19-year-old Syrian-born man, identified as Shaas Al M, examined sites such as the major shopping district of Alexanderplatz, the German capital’s landmark Brandenburg Gate and the area near the Reichstag parliamentary building. All three sites are also major tourist magnets.
The man, who has been in detention since March, is charged with being a member of a foreign extremist organization as well as the violation of war weapons laws.
Prosecutors said there was no evidence of any concrete plans or preparations for an attack.
However, Al M “informed his contacts in Islamic State about the potential targets,” according to a court statement.
“Furthermore, he had arranged to send at least one person to Syria as a fighter and offered himself as contact person for possible attackers in Germany,” the court said.
The accused arrived in Germany in 2015 amid a surge of refugees fleeing conflict in Syria and elsewhere.
Prior to his arrival in Germany, the defendant participated in Daesh military operations in Syria, the court said. In addition, he was responsible for supplying food to the group’s troops.
His trial comes two weeks after an attack on a crowded Christmas market in the city in which 12 people were killed and about 50 were injured. Daesh claimed responsibility for that attack.