Eight people of Arab origin who are suspected of crimes including involvement in a robbery at Berlin's best-known department store and incitement to a contract killing were arrested in the German capital Tuesday, police said.
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Authorities carried out 16 raids early Tuesday on the basis of investigations and witness testimony, according to the capital's police force. It said in a statement that the information led them to suspected "criminal members of large families of Arab origin aged from 20 to 56."
They are suspected of offenses including involvement in a 2014 robbery at the KaDeWe department store in which jewelry and watches were stolen, incitement to a contract killing and illegal weapons possession. Police spokesman Stefan Redlich told n-tv television that authorities seized a gun, ammunition, cash, jewelry and a Porsche car, among other things.
Berlin's top security official, Frank Henkel, welcomed what he called a "blow against organized crime." He said it was encouraging and "unusual for this scene" that witnesses had come forward.
The suspects are long-term residents in Germany, not recent arrivals.