German police carried out raids on more than a dozen residences belonging to suspected Islamist extremists early on Tuesday as they sought the associates of two men who had been detained for allegedly planning an attack in Syria. No suspects were detained in the raid by 200 police officers that spanned a search of 13 different apartments in Berlin and other regions across the country, according to a police statement reported by Agence France-Presse.
Tuesday’s operation marked the second set of raids in the German capital since Friday, when police arrested two men, named as Ismet D. and Emin F., who they linked to an alleged “Islamist logistics cell,” according to Bloomberg. “The searches haven’t ended yet,” said Michael Gassen, a spokesman for Berlin’s police. “Officers have seized computers and other computer data.”
The raids are aimed at a wider circle of people who attend a mosque in Berlin’s Moabit district, according to a police statement reported by the Wall Street Journal. The statement noted that there is currently no indication that the cell had been planning attacks within Germany. The two suspects in custody are thought to have provided financial support and assisted in the recruitment of fighters for the Islamic State militant group in Syria.
The German police operation comes as Europe bolsters its security in the aftermath of the recent deadly attacks on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris. The fear that jihadists could be planning attacks across the continent in response to the Paris attacks has inspired similar crackdowns in other European countries.
Most notable among these is Belgium, which conducted a series of operations last week that police claimed foiled a major terrorist attack. Authorities said that a police raid in the east of the country on Thursday that resulted in the killing of two men helped to avert what was an imminent and substantial terror attack, reported the New York Times. However, Belgian officials said they have found no evidence to link the alleged planned attack and the Paris attacks.