BERLIN (Reuters) – Police arrested nine men suspected of supporting militant groups in Syria and raided numerous properties in one of the largest sweeps against alleged extremists in Germany yet, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
More than 240 police officers took part in the operation in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, targeting a network believed to help radical organisations that included Islamic State.
A 58-year-old Pakistani man, Mirza Tamoor B, was arrested on sus-picion that he smuggled two fighters from Germany to Syria, while a 31-year-old German, Kais B O, was detained on suspicion of recruiting three other potential extremists and helping them to travel to Syria, federal prosecutors said.
The two are also believed to have sent more than 3,000 euros(US$3,700) to support IS and other radical groups.
According to prosecutors in Cologne, a further seven German citizens, aged between 22 and 35, were arrested on suspicion of robbing churches and schools to provide money for extremists.
The raids targeted dozens of properties in several cities across North Rhine-Westphalia and police were investigating a further 20 suspected members of the extremist network, they said.