Berlin police raid premises suspected of Mideast crime links


BERLIN (AP) — Berlin police have searched hookah bars, jewelers and travel agents linked to families suspected of involvement in organized crime in the German capital.

Police said the raids Thursday involving more than 300 officers and prosecutors were “the biggest such operation in Berlin” to date, targeting what authorities described as “criminal parallel societies.” The raids were centered in Berlin’s Neukoelln and Moabit districts, both of which have large immigrant populations.

German politicians have called for a concerted crackdown on migrant families of Arab or Eastern European origin suspected of involvement in the drug trade, forced prostitution and other illegal activity.

Similar operations have recently taken place in western and northern Germany.

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