German police raid apartments, shut down mosque linked to Islamic extremists

German authorities on Tuesday (March 14) raided apartments linked to a mosque in the city of Hildesheim visited by Tunisian failed asylum seeker Anis Amri, who drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market in December and killed 12 people.

The local state interior ministry said more than 300 police searched the apartments of eight people and shut down the mosque and the association which ran it, saying it recruited young Muslims to join ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria.

“The ban of the DIK Hildesheim—I think we can say without exaggerating—is an enormously important and hard stroke against Islamic extremists here in Lower Saxony. This association was a hot spot for extremists, an organization that gave support to men and women that wanted to join the inhuman jihadist organizations in Syria, Iraq and who were possibly planning to commit terrible attacks here in Germany,” Lower Saxony Interior Minister Boris Pistorius said, referring to Muslims who espouse a strict interpretation of Sunni Islam.

Authorities raided the mosque in the summer of 2016 over suspicions that it was radicalizing Muslims and encouraging them to travel to war zones in Syria and Iraq.

An Iraqi Islamist ideologue arrested in November for running a ring to recruit for ISIS had preached at the banned mosque in Hildesheim, some 280 km (165 miles) west of Berlin.

(REUTERS)