Berlin Police Raid Mosque Amid Fears Over Islamist Recruiters

Published: 23rd September 2015 07:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2015 07:56 AM   |  A+A-

BERLIN: Police raided a mosque and several apartments in Berlin in the early hours of yesterday (Tuesday) as German intelligence warned that Islamic extremists were trying to recruit Syrian refugees flooding into the country.

"We are very concerned that Islamists in Germany are trying, under the cover of humanitarian assistance, to exploit the situation," said Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of the domestic security service, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BFV).

But he there was "no reliable evidence" that jihadists were infiltrating Germany masquerading as refugees.

Mr Maassen was speaking after police carried out raids targeting suspected recruiters for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). An imam was led away by armed police after dawn prayers at one mosque, and questioned over allegations that he had told his followers to travel to Syria and join Isil.

The 51-year-old, a Moroccan named only as Abdul Qader D under German privacy laws, dismissed the allegations as "absurd". He was later released without charge.

The raids were also carried out in connection with an unnamed 19-year-old Macedonian citizen believed to be in Syria with Isil, according to police.

There was no link to a terror attack in Berlin last week in which a woman police officer was stabbed and seriously wounded, they said. It was not clear whether there was any connection between the raids and concerns about refugees being targeted by recruiters.

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