Cologne, Germany – Two months after Berlin’s Christmas market terror attack, the German authorities decided to shut down the mosque which the Tunisian attacker Anis Amri used to visit frequently. German State Interior Minister Andreas Geisel said that the “Fussilet 33” mosque in the central district of Moabit was a “hub” for terrorists.
“There is no place for terrorism in Berlin”, the minister added in a press conference held following the anti-terrorism police raids.
In an official statement, Berlin Police announced that about 450 officers – supported by counter-terrorism cells – raided 24 locations in Berlin on Tuesday. Among the properties searched were office spaces, flats, and six cells in two prisons. Raids also covered two other locations in Brandenburg and Hamburg.
Opposition parties in the German parliament defamed the show-off security raids that was not concluded with any arrests despite being supported by a huge number of policemen.
The Fussilet 33 mosque association was shut under a decision issued by the Berlin Administrative Court, in light of a report released by the capitals’ general prosecution.
The decision stipulates to confiscate the association’s possessions and called banks to provide the general prosecution with the required data on Fussilet’s financial activities of the past six months. The State Interior Minister considered this ban a success for the anti-terrorism campaign in the country and further announced more austere procedures against similar associations in Berlin.
Geisel said that authorities have tracked down other extremists who have the same goals and stated that many of Fussilet’s administrative officials reside now in German prisons after being accused of supporting terrorism. The minister said that this ban was applied after the completion of all required legal procedures.
The Fussilet 33 mosque was already raided twice, after being accused of lodging terrorists, securing funds for terrorist groups, and recruiting members to fight in Syria and Iraq.
Terrorist Anis Amri, 24, fled to Italy via Netherlands where he was shot by an Italian policeman in one of Milano’s train stations.
A terrorism expert in Radio Berlin and Brandenburg revealed that some data revealed speeches calling for the participation in terrorist fights and for the killing of non-believers. Police also found videos praising operations conducted by ISIS.
The wide-spread Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported that Bavarian Ministry of Interior prepared a series of new counter-terrorism laws and regulations. It is also planning to expand judicial jurisdictions, so judges can imprison dangerous members for unlimited periods. According to these changes, judges shall respond swiftly to police requests concerning the precautionary jail of suspects.
The newspaper stated that the Interior Ministry has overstepped the law of electronic surveillance – it has also sought to overstep the German law which permits the precautionary arrest for few days only.
However, some German officials have warned from the concept of unlimited arrest, which contradicts with laws of the German constitution, and from the wrong exploitation of this concept to serve private purposes with no terrorist links.