A statement from Germany’s Federal Public Prosecutor’s office on Tuesday confirmed earlier media reports that federal police and agents from Germany’s GSG 9 special operations unit were involved in pre-dawn raids against terror suspects.
Three men were arrested in the raids. All three are Syrian nationals and the prosecutor’s office listed their names as Mahir Al-H. (17), Mohamed A. (26), and Ibrahim M. (18). The full names of criminal suspects in Germany are usually not released by officials.
The men are suspected of being members of a foreign terror organization, the so-called “Islamic State” (“IS”). According to the investigation so far, the three came to Germany in November with the intention of “carrying out a previously determined order [from IS] or to await further instructions.”
Mahir Al-H. is believed to have received training from IS in Raqqa, Syria on how to use weapons and explosives in September 2015. One month later, he and the other two suspects are believed to have agreed on a plan to travel to Europe to carry out operations or attacks outside of IS-controlled areas.
For the purposes of their travel, prosecutors say they were given passports by IS along with cash in US dollars “in a high four-figure sum” and mobile phones pre-loaded with a communications program. The suspects came to Germany from Syria through Turkey and Greece, the statement said.
The prosecutor’s office added that the investigation had not yet uncovered any concrete orders or instructions.
The suspects were arrested in raids carried out in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, where the suspects’ residences were also searched.
Over 200 officers from the German Federal Criminal Police Office, the national police force and Schleswig-Holstein state police were involved in the operation.
Germany’s interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, is expected to make a statement on the arrests later Tuesday.