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Germany

Police Suspect Islamist Group of Recruiting Militants

Prosecutors said that German police had staged a series of nationwide raids in an investigation into a radical Islamist group. The inquiry did not include any charges of terrorism.

Montage of cross-hairs on a map of Germany and an illustration of a radical with a rifle

All nine suspects were reported to be Germans

Police on Wednesday, April 23, raided 16 locations across Germany, including homes, cultural associations and a publishing office, that were allegedly linked to nine suspected radical Islamists accused of spreading extremist material and recruiting militants for jihad abroad, authorities said.

The inquiry did not allege terrorism but the lesser charge of forming a criminal group. The aim of the group was reportedly to encourage radicalism among ethnic minority Muslims and among German converts to Islam, police said.

The searches, led by Bavarian police, primarily centered on a community of Muslims in the city of Neu-Ulm, which has repeatedly been raided in recent years during anti-terrorism inquiries. Other locations in Ulm, Sindelfingen, Bonn, Berlin and Leipzig were also raided.

Suspected of sedition

The MKH building

Police have investigated the MKH for supporting anti-constitutional activities

Police said the suspects were between 25 and 47 years old, and all of them were German citizens, though most stemmed from immigrant families. None of the suspects was arrested.

The suspects were said to have used the Internet, as well as audio and video materials, for anti-constitutional pursuits. They were likewise suspected of sedition.

The inquiry is a continuation of an investigation into a Neu-Ulm group formerly known as the Multi Kultur Haus (MKH), which was reportedly also under surveillance in the past by US anti-terrorism agencies.

MKH formally dissolved itself last year to forestall a prohibition order, but police suspect its members remain covertly active, the dpa news agency reported.

Last year, German police arrested three men in the country village of Oberschledorn, charging that they were plotting a terrorist attack. Two of them were German converts to Islam, one of them a man from Ulm.

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