dpa/GNA – Police conducted raids in the German capital and surrounding region on Thursday, targeting an Islamist group that has been linked to the Berlin Christmas market attacker.
The group was described by Andreas Geisel, the city’s state interior minister, as a successor organization to the Fussilet mosque, which was forced to close in 2017 and where Anis Amri, a terrorist who rammed a hijacked truck into crowds in December 2016, had frequented.
With its around 20 members, Jama’atu Berlin advocated for armed jihad, attacks on civilians and suicide bombings, Geisel told reporters following the raids.
The organization was banned by the Berlin state government on Thursday.
Torsten Akmann, a junior minister in the state interior ministry, said: “The group banned today follows the ideology of Islamic State. In addition, they are terrible anti-Semites who call for the death of Jews.”
Members had met in flats and parks for sermons. The group also used YouTube and Instagram as well as pamphlets to spread their propaganda.
“The group believes that the ‘great battle’ will come, that police officers ‘will have their heads cut off,’ and one prayer said, ‘Let their planes crash,'” Akmann added.
Over 800 police officers conducted searches at 24 properties in Berlin and two in the surrounding state of Brandenburg.
A police spokesman said the operation was intended to gather evidence. No one was arrested. Two people were injured over the course of the raids, which began at 6 am (0500 GMT)