ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Hundreds of German police raid more than a dozen properties linked to Hamas supporters

Some 450 members of Gaza-based terror group are believed to reside in Germany; interior minister: ‘Islamists and antisemites cannot and must not feel safe anywhere here’

Policemen stand in front of a house in Berlin's Friedrichshain district, as a raid was under way against Hamas and Samidoun, both of which are banned in the country, November 23, 2023. (Odd ANDERSEN/AFP)
Policemen stand in front of a house in Berlin's Friedrichshain district, as a raid was under way against Hamas and Samidoun, both of which are banned in the country, November 23, 2023. (Odd ANDERSEN/AFP)

BERLIN, Germany — Hundreds of police officers searched the properties of Hamas members and followers in Germany on Thursday morning following a formal ban on any activity by or in support of the terrorist group.

The German government implemented the ban on November 2 and dissolved Samidoun, a group that was behind a celebration in Berlin of Hamas’s October 7 onslaught in southern Israel, in which 3,000 terrorists stormed across the border with Israel and unleashed deadly attacks in which some 1,200 people were killed and some 240 were taken hostage.

The vast majority of those killed were civilians — including children and the elderly. Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 360 people were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists.

The Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network was behind an October 7 action in which a group of people handed out pastries in a Berlin street in celebration of Hamas’s attack. That same day, the group published a “Calendar of Resistance for Palestine” on its website, with links to celebratory events around the world and a call for “all Palestinian, Arab and international supporters of Palestine to escalate their organizing and struggle to stand with the heroic Palestinian resistance and confront colonial Zionist violence and imperialist complicity.”

Germany’s domestic intelligence service estimates that Hamas has around 450 members in the country. Their activities range from expressions of sympathy and propaganda activities to financing and fundraising activities to strengthen the terror group abroad.

“We are continuing our consistent action against radical Islamists,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said. “By banning Hamas and Samidoun in Germany, we have sent a clear signal that we will not tolerate any glorification or support of Hamas’ barbaric terror against Israel.”

Israeli soldiers remove bodies of Israeli civilians in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the Israeli-Gaza border in southern Israel, October 10, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

The raids, which mostly took place in Berlin, were meant to enforce the bans and to further investigate the groups, the German interior ministry said in a statement.

A total of 15 properties were searched in Berlin and the states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein.

In Berlin alone, more than 300 police officers carried out searches at 11 locations in order to seize evidence and assets. Seven searches were related to Hamas and four to Samidoun. The searches mainly took place at the homes of supporters and the premises of a Palestinian association, German news agency DPA reported.

Policemen stand in front of a house in Berlin’s Friedrichshain district, as a raid was under way against Hamas and Samidoun, both of which are banned in the country, November 23, 2023. (Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

Germany has been clamping down on groups supporting antisemitism in the wake of the ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza, through which Israel has vowed to eliminate the terror group from the Gaza Strip and end its 15-year rule.

On Tuesday, police raided the homes of 17 people in the southern German state of Bavaria who were accused of spreading antisemitic hate speech and threats targeting Jews online. On November 16, German police raided 54 locations across the country in an investigation of a Hamburg-based organization suspected of promoting the Iranian leadership’s ideology and possibly supporting activities of Hezbollah in Germany.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser speaks during a press conference in Berlin, October 9, 2023 (AP Photo/Stefanie Loos)

“We are keeping a close eye on the Islamist scene,” Faeser said. “Islamists and antisemites cannot and must not feel safe anywhere here.” She said the members and supporters of Hamas in Germany are also committed to influencing the political and social discourse in the country.

Hamas has vowed to annihilate Israel and has been responsible for many suicide bombings and other deadly attacks on civilians and Israeli soldiers. After the group’s incursion into Israel in October, Israel vowed to wipe out Hamas.

The US State Department designated Hamas a terrorist group in 1997. The European Union and other Western countries also consider it a terrorist organization.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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