A policeman of a special unit stands next to police cars on the grounds of the Bilal mosque in the Griesheim district of Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on February 1, 2017. AFP PHOTO / dpa / Boris Roessler / Germany OUT
German police in overnight raids arrested an Algerian and a Nigerian man suspected of planning an Islamist attack, authorities said Thursday.
More than 450 officers took part in the mass raids targeting 12 locations, mostly in the central city of Goettingen in Lower Saxony state, they said.
Police investigating the fundamentalist Islamist community had acted on information pointing to “a possibly imminent terrorist attack”, said the city’s police chief Uwe Luehrig.
They detained the two men, a 27-year-old Algerian and a Nigerian, 23, who had both lived for some time in the city with their families.
Germany was hit by several attacks last year claimed by the Islamic State group — the most deadly of them a December 19 truck rampage though a Berlin Christmas market that claimed 12 lives.
German security services say they consider some 550 known Islamists as potentially dangerous and capable of carrying out an attack.
German federal prosecutors, in charge of terrorism cases, have struggled with a flood of investigations against suspects and returned fighters from Syria and Iraq, news magazine Der Spiegel reported last weekend.
Chief prosecutor Peter Frank urgently requested personnel support from Germany’s 16 regional state services, complaining in a letter that his national-level service had “reached the limit” of what it could do, the magazine reported.