Prosecutors in Karlsruhe on Wednesday said more than 1,000 federal and state police were involved in raids across several states on an alleged terrorist financing network.
Seven suspects were arrested on suspicion of collecting donations and forwarding them to the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) terror group.
What we know so far
The prosecutor said four of the arrests were made in North Rhine Westphalia, with one arrest each in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Bremen.
The men and women, mostly of German nationality, were detained on suspicion of supporting a terrorist organization. They allegedly belonged to an international network that solicited financial donations for IS in Syria using platforms that included Telegram. They subsequently transferred the money to the group or its intermediaries.
According to investigators, at least 65,000 euros ($71,552.00) were transferred in this way. The money was allegedly used to support IS members imprisoned in Syria, in some cases allowing them to escape from detention.
Searches also took place in Berlin, Bavaria, Hamburg, Hesse, Thuringia, and Lower Saxony, with a further property raided in the Netherlands.
The seven suspects were due to appear before a magistrate to determine whether they should be held in pre-trial detention.
The money is understood to have been collected through social media campaigns with titles like "Your Sister in the Camp," which have been running for several years.
Threat still judged to be high
German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the raids demonstrated the seriousness with which law enforcement agencies still viewed the threat from IS.
"The threat from Islamist terrorism remains high," said Faeser. "We are very vigilant and continue our crackdown on Islamists."
"The identification and clarification of financing networks in the field of Islamist terrorism is of great importance. It is precisely financial resources that enable the spread of anti-constitutional ideologies and form the basis for terrorists' actions. It is, therefore, crucial to uncover and dismantle these networks."
Punishable since 2014
IS controlled large areas of war-torn Syria and neighboring Iraq, proclaiming a so-called caliphate in June 2014.
Germany's domestic intelligence service says the peak phase of IS ended in 2016, with the extremists since losing the territory they held. However, Islamic State cells are still active in both Iraq and Syria.
Acts committed by members or supporters of IS who are German citizens, residents, or active in the country have been subject to prosecution under the criminal code since early 2014.
The law prohibits social media activity and demonstrations in favor of the jihadist group, any kind of support activities such as raising money and material, and the recruitment of fighters.
rc/kb (AFP, dpa)
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