German Police Hunt Iranian Spies in Countrywide Raid

German authorities target ‘suspected members of the al-Quds Brigade.'

German police raided homes and businesses of suspected Iranian spies on Tuesday. The nationwide searches were aimed at 10 suspected members of the al-Quds Brigade, the foreign arm of  Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IGRC) responsible for espionage and terrorist attacks on behalf of the Iranian regime.

The Israeli intelligence service Mossad provided German authorities with critical information ahead of the raids, Israeli public broadcaster Kan confirmed. According to Israeli media reports, these suspected members of the al-Quds terrorist outfit were surveilling Israeli and Jewish targets in Germany.

German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle covered the nationwide counter-espionage raids:

German authorities on Tuesday conducted searches of homes and businesses belonging to 10 suspected Iranian spies.

The Federal Prosecutors Office ordered the searches after receiving a tip from Germany's domestic intelligence agency.

The suspects are believed to have spied on persons and institutions "on behalf of an intelligence entity associated with Iran," the prosecutor's office said.

No arrests were made during the raids, which were carried out in Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Berlin.

The German magazine Focus, which first reported on the searches, said that the 10 individuals were suspected members of the al-Quds Brigade, the external operations arm of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC).

Iranian agents are believed to regularly spy on Israelis, Jewish institutions, Iranian dissidents and other targets abroad.

Jerusalem-based news website Times of Israel highlighted the role played by the Mossad ahead of the German raids:

The Mossad intelligence service provided critical information that led to raids on the homes of suspected Iranian spies throughout Germany, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported on Tuesday. (...)

According to the Kan report, the al-Quds Force had tried to recruit non-Iranian Shiites — primarily those with European citizenship — to establish a terror cell to carry out attacks throughout the continent.

Israel’s Ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, told Kan that “the affair should raise a red flag not only in Germany, but in all of Europe.”

“The time has come for the Germans and the Europeans to understand what is hidden behind the Iranian smile of recent months,” the ambassador added.

Issacharoff said Israel had “bolstered security” at the embassy and that Israelis were “warned” about the incident.

In August 2017, President Trump designated Iran’s IRGC and its affiliate al-Quds as terrorists, making this the first instance the U.S. designated a military wing of a foreign nation for terrorism.

Al-Quds is not the only Iran-backed terrorist outfit working in Germany. According to an assessment made by Germany’s domestic intelligence service BfV, an estimated 950 members of the Iran-sponsored Hezbollah terrorist group are operating in the country.

Unregulated immigration from Arab and Muslim countries is set to push those numbers even higher. “Since mid-2015 there are increased indications of fighters from Shi’ite militias entering Germany as legal refugees,” confirmed a 2017 German intelligence report.

German authorities going after Iranian terrorist outfits operating in the country is welcome news, but Germany needs to cut off the air supply to these terrorist networks by adopting a sensible immigration policy.  

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