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Berlin Islamists targeted in police raids

September 22, 2015

German police say they have carried out several raids in Berlin targeting people suspected of recruiting for "Islamic State" in Syria. Hundreds of officers were involved in the operation.

Policemen with a man in a long gown seen from behind REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
Image: Reuters/H. Hanschke

In a statement, police said eight raids had been carried out early on Tuesday morning, including one on an association attached to a mosque in the central Tempelhof-Schöneberg district of the German capital.

Among others, the raids had targeted a 51-year-old Moroccan who is suspected of inciting people to go and fight for the jihadist group "Islamic State" ("IS") in Syria, the statement said, adding that a 19-year-old Macedonian thought to be currently in Syria was also suspected of recruiting for the group.

"IS" has captured large tracts of land in both Syria and Iraq over the past months during a brutal and bloody campaign to establish a "caliphate" based on its version of Islamic law in the Middle East.

Police said there was no indication that the suspects had planned attacks in Germany, and that there was also no connection with an incident last week in Berlin, where an Islamist was shot dead after stabbing a policewoman with a knife.

Radical Islamism growing in Germany

German intelligence estimates that more than 600 Germans have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside jihadist groups.

The head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, warned on Tuesday that radical Islamists might be recruiting young asylum seekers to their ranks under the pretext of offering humanitarian help.

He said the number of ultra-conservative Salafist Muslims in Germany had risen to 7,900, compared with 7,500 in June.

tj/rg (dpa, AFP)