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Germany bans Islamic group Ansaar over terrorism financing suspicions

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BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany said on Wednesday it was banning Ansaar International, an Islamic organisation which Berlin says has financed terrorism around the world, and police raided affiliates of the group.

“If you want to fight terror you have to dry up its sources of funding,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Twitter.

Ansaar says on its website it provides humanitarian aid to people affected by war and crises by building or financing the construction of hospitals, orphanages and schools.

Seehofer said Ansaar and an affiliated organisation “spread a Salafist world view and finance terror around the world under the guise of humanitarian aid.”

A man who answered the phone at Ansaar’s main office in the western city of Duesseldorf declined to comment on the ban and raids.

The interior ministry said in a statement that about 1,000 police officers had taken part in raids on affiliates of Ansaar in 10 German states and that 150,000 euros ($180,000) in cash had been confiscated.

In 2019, police raided offices belonging to Ansaar and another organisation on suspicion of financing the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which is on a European Union terrorism blacklist.

($1 = 0.8341 euros)

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(Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Joseph Nasr, Editing by Robert Birsel and Timothy Heritage)

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