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Germany

Germany Arrests Suspected Extremists

Twenty-two members of a suspected extremist Islamic network were detained in raids carried out by 700 police officers across Germany on Wednesday, authorities said. The suspects are accused of raising funds to provide people with falsified documents for residency under false identities in Germany and abroad. They also allegedly gave financial support to groups with the same aims, prosecutors and police officials said in a press conference in the southern city of Ulm. The suspects are furthermore accused of recruiting volunteers for jihad, or Islamic holy war. Forged passports, ink stamps and material for forging documents were seized in the searches. At least 11 of the suspects were detained in custody and the number may rise later in the day. The hub of the network is based in Ulm, but the early morning raids also took place in Freiburg, Frankfurt, Duesseldorf, Bonn and Berlin. A total of 57 buildings were raided, including mosques, apartments and long-distance telephone call shops. The network had no name but was linked to the extremist Al Tawhid and Ansar al-Islam groups, Martin Hofmann of the Munich prosecutor's office said. In December, Germany's federal prosecutor brought charges against a suspected Iraqi member of Ansar al-Islam who is accused of raising money to smuggle insurgency fighters into Iraq. Three men arrested in Germany in early December in connection with allegedly planning an attack on Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi during his visit to Berlin were also suspected of being members of Ansar al-Islam. (AFP)

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