BERLIN (AFP) - Scores of German police raided alleged Islamist sites in Berlin early on Friday, arresting two men suspected of being part of a group planning to carry out an attack in Syria, police said.
Around 250 police officers carried out the raids on 11 sites in the German capital, arresting the two men of Turkish origin aged 41 and 43, police said in a statement.
One of the men, identified as Ismet D., 41, is suspected of “leading an Islamist extremist group made up of Turkish and Russian nationals from (the Caucasus regions’ of) Chechnya and Dagestan,” the police said.
The other man, identified as Emin F., 43, is suspected of organising the financing, the statement said, adding there was “no indication that the group planned attacks inside Germany”.
The two men were part of a group of five people, all of Turkish origin, who had been under investigation by police and prosecutors for several months, they added.
The were under suspicion of preparing a serious act of violence in Syria and money laundering.
The German raids came just hours after two suspected Islamists were killed in a massive police raid on suspected jihadists in Belgium and a week after Islamist attacks in Paris claimed 17 lives.
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday vowed to heighten security measures against Islamist militants in the wake of the Paris attacks, vowing that Germany would not be divided by extremism of any kind.
“Hate preachers, violent delinquents who act in the name of Islam, those behind them, and the intellectual arsonists of international terrorism will be rigorously fought with all legal means at the disposal of the state,” she said in a speech to parliament.