Germany conducts 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 an attack 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 -- is sought by Algerian authorities for belonging to the extremist group. He is believed to have received military training in Syria.

His wife is also wanted 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. Steltner said the suspicion is that an attack in Berlin was planned.

The 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.

Germany so far has been spared mass-casualty attacks by Islamic extremists such as the Nov. 13 Paris attacks but security officials say it is also a target.


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