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Germany: Police raid suspected people smugglers

February 21, 2024

German police have taken part in a Europol-run operation to combat people-smuggling gangs, carrying out raids in four states. The suspects are believed to have helped smuggle people across the English Channel.

Federal police from the GSG 9
Officers from the elite GSG 9 unit were said to have been involved in the raidsImage: Hannibal Hanschke/dpa/picture alliance

German police on Wednesday raided properties in four German states in a major operation to tackle people-smuggling groups believed to be involved in illegal migration attempts across the English Channel.

The operation also involved police forces in France and Belgium, according to the German Interior Ministry.

According to figures from the British Home Office, 621 people had made the perilous crossing from the European mainland to Britain in small boats up to January 21 of this year, with 29,437 entering the country in this way in 2023. The British government has made repeated pledges to curb this traffic.

Several arrest warrants

A spokesperson for the German Interior Ministry said the raids, carried out under 25 European arrest warrants, were in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein, with the focus on North Rhine-Westphalia in the west.

The mass-circulation German daily Bild said 700 officers took place in the operation, including members from the elite GSG 9 unit.

Europol confirmed that the operation involved several European countries but said details would not be forthcoming until later in the day.

tj/nm (dpa, EFE)