German police raid mosque and apartments in crackdown on Salafists

By REUTERS
July 28, 2016 13:24

BERLIN - German police have searched a mosque and eight apartments in Hildesheim that are believed to be a hotbed of a radical Salafist community, the interior minister of the northern state of Lower Saxony said on Thursday.

Germany is on high alert after a spate of attacks since July 18 left 15 people dead - including four attackers - and dozens injured. Two assailants, a Syrian asylum seeker and a refugee from either Pakistan or Afghanistan, had links to Islamist militancy, officials say.

Interior Minister Boris Pistorius said in a statement that up to 400 police - including mobile squads and a special forces police commando - were involved in the raids on Wednesday in the Hildesheim area, which is a short drive south of Hanover.

Germany has seen sharp increases in the number of ultra-conservative Islamists known as Salafists in recent years, with the total number of sympathizers now seen at 8,900, up from 7,000 at the end of 2014, German officials have said.


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