Police in Germany have arrested two suspected supporters of "Islamic State," which has made significant territorial gains in Iraq and Syria. The pair is alleged to have sent clothing and money to the militants.
German prosecutors said the men were arrested Saturday in the western city of Aachen, close to the border with the Netherlands and Belgium.
The suspects have been identified only as 38-year-old Tunisian citizen Kamel Ben Yahia S. and 28-year-old Russian national Yusup G., due to Germany's privacy laws.
Authorities said the Tunisian national is believed to have been aiding the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (IS) terror group from Germany since July 2013, and had provided the militants with 3,400 euros ($4,300) in cash and clothing worth over 1,100 euros. He is also accused of smuggling a 17-year-old boy from Germany, via Turkey, to Syria to fight with the jihadists. The Russian suspect allegedly participated in the smuggling. Both men are expected to appear before the Federal Court in Karlsruhe.
Police also raided the homes of 13 other people suspected of helping IS and the ultra-conservative Islamist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham in Syria.
Support for IS in Germany
Germany formally outlawed "Islamic State," previously known as ISIS or ISIL, on September 12, making it a crime to support the group, financially or otherwise. Germany's Interior Ministry has also suggested plans to revoke or mark the passports of suspected IS sympathizers to prevent them from leaving to fight in the Middle East, and later returning to Germany.
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas last week said there were more than 200 people being investigated in Germany on suspicion that they were members or supporters of IS. According to Germany's domestic intelligence agency, an estimated 400 IS sympathizers had left the country in recent months to join IS fighters in Iraq and Syria, and some of these had returned to Germany.
nm/tj (AP, Reuters, dpa)