Prosecutors in Germany say they believe police have foiled an attempted attack by Islamists against far-right targets. Authorities had earlier staged a series of separate raids, banning three Salafist groups.
Police made four arrests on Wednesday after making raids in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW).
Prosecutors in Dortmund said that a raid in Bonn, carried out by special police force commandos, had uncovered a firearm and a kilogram of possible explosives. Arrests also took place in Leverkusen and Essen.
Authorities said they believed "imminent" terrorist activities were in the pipeline. A specific attack had reportedly been planned against the leader of the far-right Pro-NRW political party, Markus Beisicht.
In addition, said the prosecutors, a ticked list of Pro-NRW party officials and journalists was found.
Further raids in two states
The arrests came in the wake of raids across the states of NRW and Hesse, with computer equipment, propaganda material, cell phones and over 10,000 euros ($13,000) in cash seized.
There were no reports of a connection between the two police swoops.
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, who described the Wednesday raids as a "decisive blow against local Salafist networks," said the homes of some 20 individuals had been searched in the raids in Frankfurt, Solingen, Düsseldorf and Gladbeck.
The minister announced a ban on three militant organizations that were targeted in the raids after increased surveillance by intelligence services.
The three were "DawaFFM," "Islamische Audios," and "An-Nussrah," the latter being part of a group "Millatu Ibrahim," which was banned when raids took place in June (pictured above).
Friedrich claimed the groups hoped to change society in an "aggressive militant" way, replacing democracy with the rule of Sharia, or Islamic law.
German authorities have accused some Salafists, who favor a strict form of Sunni Islam, of condoning violence against state institutions. Officials believe there are about 4,500 Salafists in the country.
rc/dr (AP, dpa, epd)
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