2 arrested in Berlin on suspicion of supporting terrorism
BERLIN (AP) Hundreds of Berlin police raided 11 residences at dawn Friday, taking two Turkish men into custody on suspicion they were recruiting fighters and procuring equipment and funding for the so-called Islamic State group in Syria.
Martin Steltner, a spokesman for Berlin prosecutors, told The Associated Press the raids involving 250 police officers were part of a months-long investigation into a small group of Turkish extremists based in Berlin.
The group's leader, identified only as 41-year-old Ismet D. in accordance with privacy laws, is accused of recruiting largely Turkish and Russian nationals to fight against "infidels" in Syria. Emin F., 43, is accused of being in charge of finances.
Those recruited include Murat S., a 40-year-old Turkish man who was arrested in September after returning from Syria where he allegedly had gone to fight.
Authorities said there's no evidence they were planning attacks inside Germany, but that they procured funding to help send fighters to Syria, as well as military materials like night-vision equipment.
Three other men remain under investigation but authorities do not yet have enough evidence to take them into custody, Steltner said.
Steltner said the arrests were unrelated to the recent attacks in Paris or raids in Belgium.
"It's just coincidence," he said.
In an unrelated raid, police in Wolfsburg, about 200 km (120 miles) west of Berlin, took a 26-year-old German-Tunisian dual national into custody on Thursday on suspicion he had fought in Syria for Islamic State in 2014.
Federal prosecutors said there was no evidence the suspect Ayub B., who was to be brought before a judge Friday, was planning any attacks.