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Bavarian police release two terror suspects for lack of evidence

Two men who were held by German police on suspicion of having links with "Islamic State" have been freed. Although the men were questioned overnight, officials said, no evidence of a link with the group came to light.

Officials said on Friday that the suspects, a 29-year-old Nigerian and a 46-year-old Iraqi, had been released due to a lack of evidence.

"The interrogations have ended without new insights. Police searches also failed to bring new evidence to light," a police spokesman said. The men had been held on suspicion of having links with "Islamic State" (IS) and of planning "serious acts of violence."

"During the course of comprehensive investigations, the criminal charge of planning a serious act of violent subversion could not yet be further corroborated or confirmed," said a statement from Bavaria's criminal investigation office.

The pair were

arrested on Thursday,

with investigators having searched their homes for evidence of any plot.

Alert level still high

German police have carried out numerous anti-terrorism raids in recent months, with the domestic intelligence agency saying that the threat of a terrorist attack on German soil remains high.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Friday defended the police, saying that if in doubt, it was prudent "to act earlier rather than too late."

Europe as a whole is on alert after the

Paris attacks in November

and

last month's bombings in Brussels,

both of which were carried out by homegrown attackers who were trained by IS. Some 4,000 Europeans have traveled to Syria or Iraq to join up as foreign fighters for extremist groups, according to a study from the International Center for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague. Of those, just under a third have

returned to their home countries.

rc/jil (dpa, Reuters)