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Saudis offer to help Germany find suspected IS backers behind July attacks

New findings show bomb, axe attackers were in close contact via chats with probable Islamic State backers in Saudi Arabia
German investigators of bomb, axe attacks in touch with Saudis about suspected Islamic State contacts behind assaults (AFP/file photo)

Saudi Arabia offered to help German investigators find those behind bomb and axe attacks in July, news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday, citing a senior member of the Saudi government.

Saudi authorities are in contact with their German colleagues, responding to new findings that show both attackers were in close contact via a chat conversation with probable Islamic State (IS) group backers in Saudi Arabia, Spiegel said.

Traces of the chat, which investigators have been able to reconstruct, indicate that both men were not only influenced by but also took instructions from people, as yet unidentified, up until the attacks, the report said.

IS claimed responsibility for an attack on 18 July near Wurzburg in Bavaria in which a 17-year-old refugee believed to be from Afghanistan wounded five people with an axe before police shot him dead.

Wurzburg perpetrator Riaz Khan Ahmadzai left a goodbye message before engaging in the attack, the report said. "We'll see each other in paradise," he wrote.

In chats prior to the attack, an IS contact man suggested that the refugee drive a car into a mass of people. Ahmadzai reportedly responded that he did not have a driver's licence, saying instead that he would board a train and attack the first passengers that were convenient. 

In the case of the 24 July bombing in Ansbach, committed by Mohammed Daleel of Syria, authorities said that his death was probably an accident.

They think his intention was to deposit a backpack carrying homemade explosives in a crowd at a music festival in the city before detonating it remotely, Spiegel said.

Shortly before the attack, his chat contact reportedly asked him to film the detonation and the ensuing inferno and to send the video to IS.

The explosive probably detonated prematurely, killing Daleel and wounding 15 others.

There is discussion in the chats of Daleel carrying out more attacks, Spiegel said.

Daleel's face was concealed behind a veil in the video in which he claimed responsibility for the attacks, which investigators took as a sign that he may have been planning more.

Investigators also found more bomb-making materials in his apartment.

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