HANOVER, Germany, German authorities said five people linked to the Islamic State have been arrested, including a senior Islamist figure known as “the preacher without a face.”
Apartments in northern and western Germany were raided, while a mosque in Hildesheim, near Hanover, was searched, Germany’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office said. The raids were carried out based on information gathered from a 22-year-old accused militant Islamist identified as Anil O who spent months with the Islamic State in Syria before fleeing to Turkey.
Süddeutsche Zeitung reports the senior figure, alias Abu Walaa — “the preacher without a face” — has been identified as 32-year-old Iraqi Ahmad Abdulaziz Abdullah, who Anil O said was the Islamic State’s “number one in Germany.”
Abu Walaa received the moniker because of internet videos in which he appeared fully clothed in black with his back facing the camera, while calling for Islamist followers to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State.
The five men are suspected of recruiting militants for the Islamic State and of providing help for those recruits to reach the conflict zones, mainly to Syria.