On Wednesday, a team of 50 policemen in a town outside Berlin, Germany, raided the apartments of four men believed to have links to the Islamic State group. The four men were plotting to "procure and deliver a considerable amount of assets in the form of night vision gear and binoculars for the jihad war of the terrorist group 'Islamic State' in Syria," Der Tagesspiegel, a local newspaper, reported. The men have yet to be arrested, but police officials said the investigation was ongoing.
The raid on Wednesday is not the first time German police and security officials have tracked down people living in the country who are alleged to have connections to the Sunni militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL. In October, a 38-year-old Tunisian and a 28-year-old Russian citizen were arrested in the city of Aachen. Both were said to have helped smuggle people into Syria to fight with ISIS.
Germany opened its second trial this week for an alleged supporter of the militant group. The man, known as Ismail I., is accused of fighting for ISIS in Syria. He is a 24-year-old man who attended a militant training camp in Syria in mid-2013 and fought against government troops in Aleppo, according to court documents. There are also two other men on trial for helping him garner battlefield supplies in Germany to bring to Syria.
According to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Ismail I. told the court that he chose to enlist in ISIS because he wanted to avenge crimes against his family. He said one of his brothers was killed in Lebanon during an attack by the Syrian regime and that his grandmother had been raped while in Syrian custody.
U.S. President Barack Obama has said that part of degrading and destroying the militant group is cutting off its finances. Without significant cash flow, ISIS would not be able to garner more weapons and would not be able to pay its soldiers. As part of the "degrade and destroy" policy, several countries, including the U.S., are actively investigating ISIS financiers and supporters within their borders.
At the beginning of September, Bosnian police arrested 16 people on charges of financing terrorist activities, recruiting other Balkan men to join ISIS or fighting in Syria and Iraq themselves. A few weeks later, Australian security officials conducted a series of anti-terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane on word that ISIS supporters were planning to publicly execute people there. More than 800 police officers took part in the raids and arrested 15 men. It was the largest anti-terrorism operation in the country's history.