Cologne- German police on Tuesday conducted numerous raids across five federal states and stormed an accommodation facility for refugees and 12 homes around the country that were believed to house people suspected of financing terrorism.
Police searched residences in the eastern states of Thuringia and Saxony as well as in Bavaria, the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia and in Hamburg, police in Thuringia said in a statement.
Local media say a white powder was found in one of the flats, but police say they have found no evidence of a concrete threat of attack.
The raids, involving 400 police officers, were part of an investigation which began last year into a 28-year-old Russian of Chechen origin who is suspected of “preparing an act of violence against the state.”
The police have been investigating a 28-year-old Russian citizen of Chechen origin since the second half of 2015 who was suspected of preparing “a serious act of violent subversion,” the statement said.
They believed he intended to fight for ISIS in Syria.
Police said no arrests were made Tuesday, but during the course of investigations, suspicion arose that that person as well as 10 other men and three women – all Russian citizens of Chechen origin and are awaiting decisions on asylum requests – were financing terrorism.
The suspects were living in Thuringia, Hamburg and Dortmund, are asylum seekers with unclear residency status, and are aged between 21 and 31, police said.
Several of them were still being interrogated, said Interior Minister of the State of Thuringia Holger Poppenhaeger.
Potential evidence including laptops, telecommunications equipment, hard-drives and bank statements were seized, said Poppenhaeger, adding that investigators were seeking to establish “if there is direct or indirect financing of the ISIS group.”
Police forces deployed sniffer dogs to detect potential explosives. At least one suspect is reported to have been placed under arrest in the central Thuringia city of Suhl, where “white powder” of unknown origin was found.
Later, Thuringia criminal police said there is no threat of a terror attack, adding that preliminary outcomes of the operation would be released “in a matter of days.”