Laura O'Callaghan, The National, May 31, 2023
Four women and three men have been arrested in Germany on suspicion of helping to finance ISIS terrorists in Syria.
Police officers conducted a series of early-morning raids on Wednesday on 19 properties across the country, including in Berlin, while a co-ordinated search was carried out on a building in the Netherlands.
German prosecutors allege those detained have been acting as “financial intermediaries” in a network which support ISIS terrorists in Syria.
The seven arrested, who hold German, Turkish, Moroccan and Kosovan citizenship, are also accused of breaking export laws.
Four of the arrests were made in North Rhine Westphalia, with one each in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Bremen.
Searches were carried out in properties in Berlin, Bavaria, Hamburg, Hesse, Thuringia and Lower Saxony.
Prosecutors said the crackdown was linked to numerous investigations of people accused of donating to ISIS, in which more than 90 other properties were being investigated by police.
Officials say donations are being made to strengthen ISIS by helping to ensure the delivery of supplies to terrorist members held at two camps in northern Syria. The nature of those supplies was not specified.
At least €65,000 ($69,000, £56,000) has been transferred to Syria by the financing network, prosecutors claim.
In some cases, the financial help has enabled prisoners to escape or be smuggled out of the Al Hol and Roj camps.
Both camps are guarded by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
A counter-terrorism expert told The National earlier this year that the West should offer the SDF more support or risk an ISIS resurgence.
At the height of its strength, the terrorist group controlled about a third of Syria and 40 per cent of Iraq.
The US-backed SDF declared it had defeated the group in early March.