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German police launch raids on suspected Islamic extremists in Berlin

BERLIN — Hundreds of German police officers conduct coordinated raids in Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg in the investigation of an organization banned over allegations of Islamic extremism.

Some 850 police, including SWAT teams, are involved in the raids of apartments linked to members of the organization known as Jama’atu Berlin, the state Interior Ministry says.

The organization, whose name translates literally as the “Berlin Group,” was banned by Berlin’s state Interior Minister Andreas Geisel ahead of the raids on the grounds it was a “very radical” group that follows the Islamic State jihadist group’s ideology.

“The ban is another clear signal to all religious extremists,” Geisel says. “We will fight the roots of terror. We will tolerate no place where terror is preached and the so-called Islamic State is glorified.”

Authorities say the organization espouses an anti-Semitic ideology and advocates “armed jihad and terrorist attacks on civilians.” The raids are meant to secure its assets and look for evidence, authorities say, and no arrests are announced.

The organization consists of two groups — one of women and one of men — who would meet regularly in private homes and parks, and spread their ideology over the internet and with flyers in public spaces, authorities say.

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