BONN, 11 Jan. (IPS) German federal police raided houses, offices, shops and mosques in five Landers belonging to Muslim fundamentalists, the Federal Prosecutor announced on Wednesday.
The raids that concluded in the arrest of scores of suspects and seizure of computers, mobile telephones and other sophisticated gears as well as large sums and suspicious documents, were the most spectacular in Germany in recent months, journalists reported.
The raids were the most spectacular in Germany in recent months, journalists reported.
The operation concerned mostly the cities of Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Freiburg, Ulm and Bonn, official sources said, adding that at least 50 people, suspected of “anti-State” and “political violence”, had been detained.
"They worked collaboratively, highly professionally and conspiratorially, misusing mosques and other Islamic establishments as cover", police and prosecutors said in a joint statement, adding that the suspects were also accused of "spreading their beliefs in a manner that incites racial hatred and of recruiting people for Jihad (holy war)".
What interested many observers was the concentration of the Muslim fundamentalist in the newly built urban zone of Neue Ulm near the southern city of Ulm, where some shops and residences were the Fundamentalists were busy forging official documents like passports and identity cards for members recruited among Germany’s large Muslim community, most of them Turks.
“The detained people are suspected of planning terrorist actions against western interests and charged of having created terrorist networks, forging official documents, including French and Dutch passports or Belgian identity cards, or raising money using illegal financial activities”, the Police said during a press conference.
The arrested people are of Egyptian, Tunisian, Algerian, Libyan, Palestinian, Moroccan, Bulgarian and German nationals, the Police further said.
This year will be full of similar raids and arrests, predicted Udo Ulfkotte, a Frankfurt-based terrorism expert.
Last month, the police here in Germany arrested three Iraqi men suspected of planning to assassinate Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi during a visit to Berlin.
The action follows similar raids carried by police in recent weeks against suspected Muslim terrorists in France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.
In France, police detained several people on charge of “association in terrorist activities”, including a plan to attack the American embassy in Paris by members believed to be in relation with the notorious “al-Qa’eda” network.
The U.S. Embassy in Paris was the target of a foiled bomb plot in 2001. Ten Arabs, including a reputed associate of al Qa’eda leader Osama Ben Laden, are in jail for a plot to bomb a market in Strasbourg, eastern France, on December 2000.
"This year will be full of similar raids and arrests", predicted Udo Ulfkotte, a Frankfurt-based terrorism expert quoted by Knight Ridder News Network. "Germany is central to terror issues in Europe, and for years, too little has been done", he added.
German officials have recently toughened their approach to terrorism. Last month, the government established an anti-terror command headquarters at a secret location in Berlin. On Jan. 1, a law went into effect requiring detailed background checks for every immigrant applying for residency and permitting the deportation of "Islamic hate-preachers". ENDS FUNDAMENTALISTS ARRESTED 11105