BERLIN – German police carried out a series of raids Wednesday on individuals suspected of providing financial and other support to Islamic extremist activities (search) outside the country.
Thirty-three apartments and four businesses were searched early Wednesday morning, most in the southern state of Bavaria (search), police said.
The action was directed primarily against 24 people suspected of supporting the network, largely of Arab origin — including people of Lebanese, Iraqi, Egyptian and Tunisian nationality.
The individuals involved are aged 20 to 66 and are legal residents in Germany, police said.
Police are questioning several people, but no arrests have been made at this point, said Wolfgang Stengel, a spokesman for police in Upper Bavaria. He stressed that not every individual whose apartment was raided is suspected of membership in an Islamic organization.
The raids "concern people who have been known to the police because they have spent time around Islamic groups," Stengel said.
They are suspected of "financially supporting radical Islamic activities abroad by collecting donations and procuring further money," a police statement said. Two of the suspects spent time at an extremist training camp in Afghanistan "some time ago," it added.
Police were examining material confiscated in the raid, including video and cassette tapes, mobile phone, bank statements and other documents, Stengel said.
He noted there was no connection between Wednesday's searches and the arrest last month of two suspected Al Qaeda members in the Bavarian city of Ulm (search).