Friday 15, December
Three suspected Hamas members arrested in Berlin
Since October, three men arrested on Thursday are alleged to have set out from Berlin several times to go searching in nearby forests for secret caches of weapons buried underground.
Police believe that all three men – plus a fourth arrested in the Netherlands – were members of Hamas who wanted to locate a depot of weapons in preparation for attacks on Jewish institutions. The federal prosecutors office said that underground depots of weapons were secretly created by Hamas members in the past, although neither the investigators nor the suspects know exactly where they are. There was also no concrete plan or intended target – nor were these men able to actually locate the stashed weapons on any of their trips.
All four of the men arrested are believed to belong to Hamas and to have close contact with leaders of the organisation’s military wing. If it is proven that Hamas were planning an attack in Europe, it would be the first time. In contrast to Islamic terrorist organisations like Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State, Hamas has to this point never carried out an attack outside of Israel and Palestinian territories. Right now, Germany’s domestic intelligence service (Verfassungsschutz) estimates that there are 450 members of Hamas present in the country.