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Police conduct massive raids in Düsseldorf's 'Maghreb' neighborhood

Authorities have conducted a massive raid in a Düsseldorf neighborhood considered a hub for North African gangs. The raid comes soon after around 1,000 men molested and robbed women in Cologne on New Year's Eve.

Nearly 300 police officers rounded up suspected criminals while conducting searches in Düsseldorf, the capital of the German state North Rhine Westphalia, on Saturday evening.

Police looked for suspects in restaurants and eateries in the area around the city's railway station, also known as the "Maghreb" neighborhood due to the high number of North Africans living there. According to a recent police report, around 2,200 suspected thieves from the region currently live in Düsseldorf.

Düsseldorf police said the sweep was targeted at people suspected of pick-pocketing, robbery and drug dealing. The city's police were joined by federal officers and other officials from the state administration.

Security forces in North Rhine Westphalia have come under pressure after criticism that they did little to prevent sexual assaults and robberies on New Year's Eve in Cologne.

On that night, over a 1,000 men mainly suspected to be of North African and Arab origin

sexually harassed and robbed hundreds of women at Cologne's main railway station.

mg/sms (AFP, dpa)

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