Raids in the UK and the North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) region of Germany have led to the arrests of two Islamist sympathisers who are said to have been aiding the al-Nusra Front in Syria.
Police in the German city of Karlsruhe announced the success of raids carried out Wednesday morning. They claimed the two suspects had been ardent supporters of al-Nusra, the formerly al-Qaeda-backed terror group in Syria, for years and had been collecting money and aid for the group, Taggeschau reports.
The Federal Prosecutor’s Office released a statement on the raids saying the two individuals had used front groups to not only collect money for al-Nusra but also to deliver medical supplies to them. “Ambulance vehicles, medical devices, medicines, and foodstuffs have been delivered to Syria,” they said.
The two groups used by the suspects were Medicine of Heart and Medicine Without Borders, which is not said to have any affiliation with the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) organisation.
Medicine Without Borders project manager Mohamed Belkaid is linked to radical Islamist preacher Brahim Belkaid who goes by the name Abu Abdullah and is well-known in the German Salafist-Islamist scene. According to NRW interior minister Ralf Jäger, the organisation had already been under observation from the domestic intelligence agency prior to the raid.
The prosecutor noted the investigations were still ongoing and did not mention in the statement where in the UK the raids took place.
The raids come after a crackdown by the German government on Islamist networks in the wake of the Berlin terror attack in December. Radical Islamist asylum seeker Anis Amri used a lorry to kill twelve people and injure almost 50 others at a Christmas market.
Last week, German authorities raided radical Islamist Salafists across the country. 1,100 police officers took part in the operation which saw 54 properties raided.
The raids led to the arrest of 16 people including a Tunisian migrant who police say not only was plotting a terror attack in Germany but had also been responsible for an Islamic State attack in Tunisia in 2015. The attack led to the deaths of 21 people at the Bardo Museum in Tunis.
Raids on Salafist networks have also been carried out in Austria in recent weeks after the arrest of a 17-year-old Islamic State sympathiser who was plotting a terror attack in Vienna. Police arrested fourteen individuals who were plotting the overthrow of the government and the establishment of a radical Islamic caliphate.