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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 January, 2005, 17:09 GMT
German police target 'Islamists'
A mosque in Frankfurt raided by police
Mosques, flats and call centres were among the 50 premises raided
German authorities say they have detained 22 suspected Islamic radicals in massive raids across the country.

More than 700 police officers swooped on addresses - including apartments and mosques - in five states, arresting 17 men and five women.

Some are alleged to be members of a radical Islamic network suspected of aiding terrorists through money laundering and falsifying documents.

The raids are the result of a long-term inquiry, the authorities said.

Germany has made fighting alleged Islamist terror cells a key security priority, says the BBC's Ray Furlong in Berlin.

He said the country was shocked to find that some of the suicide hijackers in the 11 September 2001 attacks were based in the northern city of Hamburg.

'Jihad recruiters'

Eleven people have been arrested and another 11 taken into provisional custody in Wednesday's raids, police said.

The suspects, aged from 17 to 46, include German citizens as well as Egyptian, Tunisian, Algerian, Libyan and Bulgarian nationals.

They are alleged to have raised funds to "pursue their ideological goals", according to prosecutors in Munich - who co-ordinated the raids.

The network "equipped people with false documents, making possible illegal residency in the country and abroad, and supported other like-minded group", the prosecutors said in a statement.

Photographers take pictures of documents seized during police raids
Police said they had seized forged documents and blank passports

"They are also accused of spreading their beliefs of racial hatred and recruiting people for jihad [holy war]."

The raids uncovered propaganda material, faked and blank passports and visa forgeries, the investigators said.

The Islamic network is believed to be based in the southern city of Ulm.

The co-ordinated early morning raids took place in the states of Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg, North Rhine Westphalia, North Rhine Westphalia, Hessen and Berlin.

More than 50 buildings were searched, including private apartments, mosques and call centres.

The authorities, which plan to release further details later, said their immediate target was a group of 20 suspects.

The latest arrests followed an operation in December which allegedly thwarted an assassination attempt on visiting Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, our correspondent says.

Germany targets Muslim groups
12 Dec 01 |  Europe
The European terror challenge
24 Mar 04 |  Europe

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