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Woman and 2 men arrested in German terrorism probe for alleged funding of Syrian Islamist group

Woman and 2 men arrested in German terrorism probe for alleged funding of Syrian Islamist group
Three people have been arrested in Germany over their alleged financing and support for terrorism abroad, including raising online donations for a Syrian Islamist group, federal prosecutors said in a statement on Thursday.

Federal police officers detained the trio in the early hours of Thursday morning, with arrests in the southern cities of Ulm and Munich, and the northern town of Delmenhorst.

Their apartments were searched, while police also raided the properties of 11 other people suspected of aiding terrorism abroad.

The three people arrested are accused of financing terrorism, supporting a terrorist organization abroad and violating the Foreign Trade Act.

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A federal judge will decide on Thursday whether they should be placed into pre-trial detention.

Prosecutors said two German men, identified as Tassilo M and Önder A, along with a German woman – who also had Serbian and Kosovan citizenship – funded Syrian-based Sunni Islamist group Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) from across Europe.

Alleged HTS member Önder A is said to have set up an online fundraising page in Turkey, through which prosecutors claim he funded the group's “jihad” by publicly securing cash to procure weapons and support militants abroad.

The man named as Tassilo M is alleged to have sent Önder A money on three occasions to be used by HTS in Syria, while the female suspect, Valdete M, is accused of making two transactions in 2018.

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HTS is an umbrella organization of other Islamist terrorist groups, which prosecutors said has “the goal of overthrowing the Syrian government by force and establishing a ‘state of God’ in the country.”

The group dominates Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, and split from Al-Qaeda in 2016, when it was known as the Al-Nusra Front.

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