BERLIN, Germany (CNN) -- More than 150 German investigators fanned out
across Berlin Wednesday, searching dozens of apartments allegedly
linked to "potentially violent Islamic extremists," a police
spokeswoman told CNN.
The raids centered on a group of approximately 15 suspects -- most of
them German citizens -- believed to be plotting bomb attacks in
Russia, the release stated. Police said the suspects' actions were
being directed by a Berlin-based Islamist organization.
The German capital has been on high alert after al Qaeda and the
Taliban released threatening videos shortly before Germany's September
27 national elections. The videos warned voters not to cast their
ballots for leaders who want to keep the country's troops in
But Berlin police said the suspects targeted in Wednesday's raids had
no "concrete attack plans in Germany," and the raids had no direct
connection to the recent terror threats.
Police believe some of the suspects may have traveled from Germany to
the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to train at jihadi camps. Over the
past week, three of the suspects were banned from leaving through
Berlin's Tegel Airport, and evidence from Wednesday's investigation
led authorities to widen that ban to include the other alleged members
of the group, police said.
While most of the suspects are German citizens, the group includes
Turkish, Algerian, Lebanese, Dutch, and Romanian nationals, police
The Berlin raid began shortly after 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) and was still
under way at midday, a police spokeswoman said. Investigators seized
computers, various memory devices and articles of outdoor clothing
from 27 flats, or apartments, in Berlin, the police news release
The raids follow an announcement last week by German prosecutors that
a 24-year-old Turkish-German man was arrested "on suspicion of
spreading al Qaeda propaganda online and for procuring materials which
could be used to make a bomb."
It is unclear if Wednesday's raids were connected to the arrest.
The 24-year-old -- identified only as Adnan V. -- was arrested after
searches of a flat in Offenbach and a business in Frankfurt turned up
a small amount of an "explosive substance" and a homemade electronic
device, prosecutors said in a statement released Friday.
An initial assessment suggested that the items "could be used to
ignite explosives," prosecutors said. They added that "there appears
to be as yet no direct link" between the al Qaeda and Taliban videos
and the Turkish-German man.