Police mount raids of Islamic group

11th December 2003, Comments 0 comments

11 December 2003 , KARLSRUHE - In a massive sweep, more than 5,000 police around Germany carried out early-morning raids against suspected backers of the banned Islamic extremist group called the "Kalifatstaat". In western German city of Karlsruhe, officials at the Federal Prosecutors Office said investigations were targeted on Metin Kaplan, the self-appointed "Caliph of Cologne" and four former members of his banned group on suspicions of belonging to a terrorist organisation. An office spokesman said the

11 December 2003

KARLSRUHE - In a massive sweep, more than 5,000 police around Germany carried out early-morning raids against suspected backers of the banned Islamic extremist group called the "Kalifatstaat".

In western German city of Karlsruhe, officials at the Federal Prosecutors Office said investigations were targeted on Metin Kaplan, the self-appointed "Caliph of Cologne" and four former members of his banned group on suspicions of belonging to a terrorist organisation.

An office spokesman said the group, located in the northern state of Lower Saxony, was believed to be planning attacks on a number of targets. The spokesman did not specify what these targets were.

The early-morning police raids were carried out against some 1,000 suspects, persons believed to be backing the banned Kalifatstaat group in 13 of Germany's 16 states, according to the Federal Police Office BKA in Wiesbaden.

The raids came after police gained possession of the newsletter for the organisation's members, published outside Germany, according to security sources.

The radical Islamic group was declared illegal in December 2001 by German Interior Minister Otto Schily.

In an initial comment on the police raids, Schily said in Berlin that the move was meant to prevent any sympathisers from trying to circumvent the ban.

"Every violation of the ban will be pursued with all severity," he said. The interior minister added that the raids served as a clear warning to all those who sought to abuse Germany's system of freedoms and rule of law.

DPA
Subject: German news

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