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Danish police arrest suspected IS group militants

Claus Fisker, AFP | Danish police said one of the arrested men had links to criminal gangs in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen police said on Thursday they had detained four suspected members of the Islamic State group, seizing weapons and ammunition in a search linked to the arrests.

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All four were suspected of breaking Denmark's terrorism law while in Syria, and were arrested in the Copenhagen area, police said in a statement without giving any further information on their identities.

"The suspects were identified through investigations carried out in close cooperation between the Danish Security and Intelligence Service and Copenhagen police," the statement said.

Under Danish terrorism law, "letting oneself be recruited to commit acts of (terrorism)" is punishable with up to six years in jail.

"At one of the addresses we (searched) today we found some weapons and ammunition," police inspector Poul Kjeldsen told reporters.

A person living at the address had links to one of Copenhagen's criminal gangs, Danish police later said on Twitter.

"The arrests took place as part of the effort against people letting themselves be recruited to terror groups in the war-torn areas in Syria and northern Iraq," police said.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled to be held on Friday.

Germany 'plot'

Meanwhile in Germany on the same day, two men suspected of links with the IS group and of planning an attack were held for questioning, the public prosecutor said, although no evidence of any “concrete threat” had been found.

The pair, an Iraqi, 46, and a Nigerian, 29, would be held until Friday when they will either go before a judge or be released, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office, Thomas Steinkraus-Koch, said in a statement.

The men were questioned in southern Bavaria on Thursday afternoon.

According to the Suddeutsche Zeitung daily’s online edition, one of the suspects was arrested in Munich while the other was picked up in Furstenfeldbruck in Bavaria.

Europe is on edge after the Paris attacks in November and last month's bombings in Brussels, both blamed on homegrown militants radicalised and trained by IS.

Soft hands?

Around 4,000 Europeans have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join extremist groups as foreign fighters, according to a study from the Hague-based International Centre for Counter-Terrorism released last week.

Data from Denmark showed that 125 people had left the country to fight in Syria or Iraq, and that 62 of those were believed to have returned to the Scandinavian country.

The Danish city of Aarhus has drawn international attention for its "soft-hands" approach to battling the radicalisation of young Muslims with social techniques used in gang exit strategies.

A Danish-Palestinian gunman – seemingly inspired by the deadly assault on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo – killed a filmmaker and a Jewish security guard in twin attacks last year.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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