German police search Berlin properties linked to mosque visited by attacker

Masked police in Berlin Germany

About 450 officers conducted raids Tuesday morning at 24 locations in Berlin. Neither police nor the Berlin state's interior ministry were available to comment further when contacted by Reuters.

Amri had been there several times before he hijacked a truck on December 19, killed its Polish driver and ploughed the vehicle through a Christmas market in an IS-claimed attack that took 11 more lives. Its leaders and preachers are suspected of identifying and radicalising young men for violent Jihad, and of sending funds to support Islamic State in Syria.

"After the Fussilet 33 organization was officially banned we are now conducting searches in 24 objects in Berlin with the help of 460 policemen", the Berlin police said on Twitter.

A rookie police officer shot dead Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian, when he allegedly opened fire on police during a routine security check in a suburb in Italy's Milan city on December 23.

The mosque has been under surveillance since 2015 for its links to recruitment activities for Islamic State.

Mr Geisel defended the delay in moving against the mosque, pointing to a high burden of proof required to ban organisations in Germany, a response to Nazi-era bannings.

German authorities believe the mosque, which was shut last week, was frequented by Amri and other Islamist extremists.

The measures include launching dozens of raids across the country and proposing legislation to detain foreign nationals suspected of extremist activity who have been denied residency, a precursor for deportation.



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