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Four suspected members of Hamas arrested in Europe over alleged terrorism plot

By Jessie Gretener, Nadine Schmidt, Mohammed Tawfeeq, Benjamin Brown and Sophie Tanno, CNN

Berlin (CNN) — Four alleged Hamas members suspected of plotting terror attacks on European soil have been arrested by German and Dutch authorities, Germany’s federal prosecutor said in a statement on Thursday.

Three people were arrested in Germany and one in the Netherlands on suspicion of planning attacks on Jewish institutions in Europe, the prosecutor said.

Hamas is classified by the United States, the European Union and other nations as a terrorist organization.

Of the three arrested in Germany, two were Lebanese nationals and one was an Egyptian national, said the prosecutor. The person arrested in the Netherlands was described as a Dutch national.

The prosecutor outlined the first names of the individuals arrested, but in line with German privacy law is not disclosing surnames of the suspects. CNN is not naming the individuals.

CNN has reached out to Lebanese, Egyptian, and Dutch authorities for comment.

The news came as Denmark and the Netherlands arrested four other people suspected of terrorism offenses, though the Danish Intelligence Intelligence Agency told CNN those cases had “no direct connection” to the arrests of suspected Hamas members.

Reacting to news of the Hamas-linked arrests, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser thanked the German and Dutch police authorities, stating that it “shows that our security authorities are extremely vigilant and act consistently.”

“The protection of Jews is our top priority. We use all constitutional means against those who threaten the lives of Jews and the existence of the state of Israel,” Faeser said.

The German Justice Minister, Marco Buschmann, also thanked authorities for the “successful investigation,” which has “contributed to ensuring that Jews in Europe can continue to live in safety and peace.”

“Following the terrible attacks by Hamas on the Israeli population, attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions have also increased in our country in recent weeks. This is shameful and shocking. We must therefore do everything we can to ensure that Jews in our country do not have to fear for their safety again. And our security and law enforcement authorities are working flat out to achieve this,” Buschmann stated.

The incident comes after the European Commissioner for Home Affairs warned the war between Israel and Hamas has increased polarization within European society.

Ylva Johansson told journalists that the divide is creating a “huge risk” of terror attacks in the EU during this holiday season.

To combat the risk, Johansson announced she is allocating 32 million dollars to protect public spaces such as places of worship during the holiday season.

Denmark arrests

The news of the allegedly Hamas-linked arrests came as Denmark and the Netherlands arrested four other people suspected of terrorism offenses.

However, Denmark’s Intelligence Agency told CNN those cases had “no direct connection” to the arrests of suspected Hamas members made by German and Dutch authorities.

A spokesperson for the Danish Intelligence Agency told CNN that there is “no direct connection between the terrorism arrests that have been made in Denmark and the case referred to concerning Hamas-affiliated persons arrested in Germany.”

Speaking in Brussels to Danish broadcaster TV 2, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen described the incident as “about as serious as it can be.”

“There are people who live in Denmark who do not wish us well. Who are against Danish society and everything we believe in. Happiness. Democracy. Freedom. Equality,” she said.

This is a developing news story. More to come

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