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German police launch nationwide anti-terror raids

Security forces have launched a nationwide anti-terror operation in Germany. Police in the states of Saxony, Bavaria, Saxony-Anhalt and Berlin confirmed that properties have been searched.

German anti-terror police carried out a series of pre-dawn raids in the eastern city of Leipzig Wednesday.

Regional news portal "Tag24" reported that the operation targeted suspected members of the so-called "Islamic State" (IS), as well as other extremist factions. 

A police spokesperson in Leipzig said the raids were part of a nationwide anti-terror operation. Similar raids were carried out in the federal states of Saxony-Anhalt, Berlin and Bavaria.

Read more: Number of potential terrorists in Germany on the rise, report says

According to German daily "Bild," authorities searched three apartments belonging to asylum seekers in the Leipzig districts of Volkmarsdorf, Mockau and Connewitz.

The Federal Prosecutions office in Karlsruhe said that among those targeted were two suspected IS members, as well as another suspect accused of providing support for the jihadist group.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the raids showed that country's security forces "are prepared to strike" against the threat of international terrorism.

The move comes less than a week after Leipzig police arrested a suspected IS militant near the city. The 29-year-old Syrian national had allegedly pledged allegiance to the terrorist organization in 2013 and had fought in Syria for several years.

Prosecutors said the three suspects are thought to be connected with the Syrian national arrested last week, as well with another Syrian arrested in June 2016 on suspicion of planning a bomb attack in Düsseldorf.

dm/rt (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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