Four alleged members of Hamas have been detained on suspicion of planning attacks on Jewish institutions in Europe.
Three of the men were detained in Berlin, while another was picked up in the Netherlands.
The members of the group are believed to be long-standing members of Hamas with close links to its military wing, having served in operations abroad, according to German prosecutors.
Hamas has been labelled a terrorist organisation by the United States, the European Union and other Western countries.
It’s alleged no later than spring 2023, one of the men had begun searching for an underground weapons cache previously hidden by the organisation in Europe.
The authorities said three of the group made frequent trips to Germany to look for the weapons in October.
“The weapons were due to be taken to Berlin and kept in a state of readiness in view of potential terrorist attacks against Jewish institutions in Europe,” prosecutors said in a statement.
European authorities have warned of an increased risk of attacks by Islamists radicalised by the Israel-Hamas war.
“Following the terrible attacks by Hamas on the Israeli population, attacks on Jews in Jewish institutions have also increased in our country in recent weeks,” said German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann following the detentions.
“We must therefore do everything we can to ensure that Jews in our country do not have to fear for their safety again,” he added.
The detentions happened on the same day that Danish police also announced four people had been arrested on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack.
Police said three people were detained following raids across the country.
Dutch police confirmed they arrested a 57-year-old man in Rotterdam on the request of German authorities, as part of a German-Danish investigation.
Danish officials would not clarify what the suspected terror plots were connected to.
“I cannot tell you anything about motive, but I can say that there are these connections to abroad. I can also say that there are connections to the gang environment, there are connections to the forbidden gang organisation LTF, Loyal to Familia,” Flemming Drejer, chief superintendent of the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, said.
While the terror threat remains unchanged at the second highest level, police said that it was likely more officers would be visible in Copenhagen and in Jewish communities in the coming days.
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In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s office said that Denmark had arrested seven operatives who were acting on behalf of Hamas and thwarted an attack aimed at killing innocent citizens on European soil.
The figure of seven arrests was different from the number provided by the Danes and the discrepancy could not immediately be reconciled.
Mr Netanyahu’s office said Hamas strives to hit targets around the world, and in Europe in particular.