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Suspected Hungarian militant actually a World War II hobbyist

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Budapest: A Hungarian man detained by anti-terrorist police on suspicion of plotting to carry out mass killings has no connections with terror groups and is in fact a World War II hobbyist, a court has said.

The man was part of a group of four people detained last weekend after Hungary’s anti-terrorist police said it found explosives in a car during a raft of spot-checks sparked by the deadly November 13 attacks in Paris.

The discovery led detectives to a “bomb-making lab” in a house containing “explosives and devices that were suitable for killing people to the utmost extent,” head of Hungary’s Counter-Terrorism Centre (TEK) Janos Hajdu told a television channel Tuesday.

Hajdu refused to deny the suspects had jihadist links and said the case had “international ramifications”.

Prosecutors applied to the Metropolitan Court in Budapest to remand the chief suspect, Roland S, in pre-trial custody but the court refused, citing a lack of evidence.

The man “lives with his mother and stepfather and is a World War II hobbyist,” the court said in a statement yesterday.

When he was detained he was taking home grenades, ammunition, and gunpowder that he had found in a forest using a metal detector, the statement read.

The suspect had no criminal record and was not plotting to kill anyone, the court said.

He had no known extremist viewpoints or any foreign connections aside from two ethnic Hungarian friends from neighbouring Slovakia who were also in the car, it added.

Earlier yesterday, after a closed-doors parliamentary committee meeting with Hajdu, lawmaker Zsolt Molnar said the four were “not part of a Hungarian cell” of Islamic State but rather radicals with a “confused ideology”.

All four remain under police investigation for unauthorised possession of equipment capable of bomb-making.