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Berlin police raid mosque and arrest two people

Published 26/11/2015

Berlin police raided eight buildings following an investigation into Islamist extremists
Berlin police raided eight buildings following an investigation into Islamist extremists

German police have raided a mosque in Berlin where a bombing attack was allegedly being planned.

Two suspected Islamists accused of belonging to an unidentified extremist group were arrested in Britz as part of the operation today.

A spokesperson for Berlin police said special forces stormed the Seituna Mosque in Charlottenburg, an affluent western district in the German capital, at 3pm local time.

No explosives have yet been found but searches with sniffer dogs continued, the Berliner Zeitung reported.

A car thought to be associated with the arrested men, aged 28 and 46, has also been cordoned off after a suspicious object was found, with police evacuating homes within a 300m safety cordon.

In September, Berlin police raided eight buildings following an investigation into Islamist extremists. Police said at the time that there was no evidence that suspects had been involved in planning attacks in Germany.

Thursday’s raid came as authorities lowered the terror alert level in Brussels after five days of “lockdown”.

Schools, municipal buildings, some public transport and tourist attractions were closed from Saturday in the Belgian capital because of intelligence indicating a “serious and imminent” threat.

Peter Mertens, of the Belgian crisis centre, said the whole country is now on the second-highest level of alert.

Police have been carrying waves of raids in the city, aiming to find Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam and arrest Islamists accused of planning further atrocities.

But the fugitive has not been found and 15 of the 16 detainees arrested on Sunday had to be released the following day.

Meanwhile German chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet has decided to send reconnaissance aircrafts, tanker planes and a warship to help in the fight against Isis.

The government has also agreed to provide satellite surveillance to help France in the war against IS, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said.

During Ms Merkel's visit to Paris on Wednesday, French president Francois Hollande had said it would "be a very good signal in the fight against terrorism" if Germany could do more against IS in Syria and Iraq.

Germany currently provides weapons and training for Kurds fighting against Isis in Iraq.

The decision still needs parliamentary approval, but it was not expected to meet much resistance by MPs.

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