German police make arrests across country in counterterrorism raids
Those held are thought to have been Chechen militants plotting a terrorist attack
German police detained suspected Chechen militants in countrywide raids on Tuesday amid fears they were planning an attack.
The operation, which involved about 180 officers, recovered knives, hard drives and cash.
Those detained are aged between 23 and 28.
They are “suspected of having scouted locations” for a terrorist attack, police said in a statement.
Suspicions were raised by pictures found on the mobile phone of one suspect during a routine police check, they said.
“Based on the current information, there was not yet any concrete danger of an attack,” police said.
“On suspicion of planning a serious violent act endangering the state, search warrants are being executed in Berlin, Brandenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Thuringia,” said the Berlin attorney general’s offce.
Authorities have thwarted at least nine plots to stage attacks in Germany since December 2016, when a Tunisian migrant attacked a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people.
Germany’s security services estimate about 11,000 radicalised Islamist extremists are in the country, of whom about 680 are deemed particularly dangerous and capable of using violence.
The figure has increased fivefold since 2013, AFP reported.
About 150 of these people have been detained, for various offences.
Updated: January 14, 2020 03:41 PM