German police conduct raids over suspected attack plans

BERLIN - German police conducted raids and arrested two suspects on Thursday in an investigation of four Algerian men who are suspected of planning attacks in Germany and having ties to the Islamic State group.

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The arrests were made in Berlin and at a refugee home in the western town of Attendorn, Berlin police spokesman Stefan Redlich said. They were based on existing warrants in other cases.

The other two suspects, one of whom was at a refugee home in the central city of Hannover, weren't arrested.

Authorities suspect that the four men had contacts with the IS group and say that one of them - the man arrested in Attendorn - was being sought by Algerian authorities for belonging to the extremist group. He is believed to have received military training in Syria.

His wife also was sought by Algerian authorities and was arrested, though she isn't a suspect in the German case, Berlin prosecutors' spokesman Martin Steltner said.

Redlich said the probe started in December and there was no specific trigger for staging the raids on Thursday, noting that searches in multiple locations require preparation. Investigators seized computers, cellphones and other material.

"We hope for further information from the evaluation of the evidence as to whether this plan existed, how far along it was and how concrete, with what target," Redlich said.

He wouldn't comment on where word of the possible attacks came from. The two men arrested on Thursday have used aliases, claiming to be Syrian and French, Redlich said.

Steltner said the suspects had been in Germany for varying lengths of time, from late last year in the case of the man arrested in Attendorn to as much as 15 years.


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