German police launch nationwide anti-terror raids

BERLIN (Xinhua) — German security forces launched a nationwide anti-terror operation on Wednesday, local media reported.

A Leipzig police spokesperson confirmed “there was a nationwide operation under the leadership of the Federal Prosecutor”, regional news portal Tag24 reported.

According to German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), authorities searched three apartments belonging to asylum seekers in the Leipzig districts of Volkmarsdorf, Mockau and Connewitz.

The police operation took place in the four states of Bavaria, Berlin, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. Eyewitnesses reported that multiple people were detained in the course of the raids.

The Federal Prosecutor will release further details, according to the spokesperson.

Tag24 reported that the operation targeted alleged members and supporters of the Islamic State and other terror organizations operating in Syria.

The Federal Prosecutions office in Karlsruhe said that among those targeted were two suspected IS members, as well as another suspect accused of providing support for the jihadist group.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the raids showed that country’s security forces “are prepared to strike” against the threat of international terrorism.

The move came less than a week after Leipzig police arrested a suspected IS militant near the city, according to DW reports. The 29-year-old Syrian national had allegedly pledged allegiance to the terrorist organization in 2013 and had fought in Syria for several years.