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Germany arrests 7 suspected members of Islamist terror group

July 6, 2023

The men are accused of having founded a terrorist group in Germany, as well as supporting the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist organization. Arrests were also made in the Netherlands.

A file photo of a police car in North Rhine-Westphalia
Police said the arrests were made at different locations in North Rhine-WestphaliaImage: Dwi Anoraganingrum/Panama Pictures/picture alliance

The German Public Prosecutor's Office said on Thursday that seven men were arrested in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia on suspicion of terrorism. 

According to prosecutors, the suspects allegedly founded a terrorist group in Germany and were supporting the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) terror organization.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser called the arrests "a significant blow against Islamist terrorism."

But she said Germany will continue to maintain a tough stance against Islamist extremism.

"Germany is still in the direct target range of Islamist terrorist organizations and individual Islamist-motivated perpetrators," she said.

What German prosecutors said about the suspects

The Federal Prosecutor's Office in Karlsruhe said one was from Turkmenistan, one from Kyrgyzstan and five from Tajikistan. They suspects had entered Germany shortly after the start of Russia's war in Ukraine in 2022

According to prosecutors, the suspects' aim was to carry out "high-profile attacks in Germany" and had already scouted out targets and tried to procure weapons. 

Six out of the seven men were "collecting money for IS since April 2022," prosecutors said, adding that the suspects had "repeatedly" sent funds to the terror group abroad. 

In May, German police carried out raids on an alleged IS financing network, arresting four in North Rhine-Westphalia and three in other states.  

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.

What we know about the arrests in the Netherlands

Police in the Netherlands also arrested two people, a man from Tajikistan and his wife, on related terrorism suspicions. 

The two suspects in the Netherlands were "in contact with several persons residing in Germany," said a statement from the Dutch Public Prosecution Service.  

"The police investigation has led to the suspicion that the man is a member of IS and that he was given the order to plot a terrorist attack," the statement said.  

"Although the plans were not yet concrete, they were serious enough for the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service to intervene," it added.

zc, fb/wd (dpa, AFP) 

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