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EghtesadOnline: Police carried out raids against suspected Islamist extremists in several towns in the west German state of North Rhine-Westphalia on Wednesday, the state's criminal police said.

Raids took place in the towns of Duisburg and Dortmund among others, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) newspaper reported, and targeted preachers who are suspected of trying to recruit young men to fight in Syria and Iraq.

A spokeswoman for the state criminal police referred all further enquiries to the Federal Prosecutor's Office which was not immediately available for comment, according to Reuters.

Germany is on high alert after a spate of attacks since July that have left 15 people dead, including four attackers, and dozens injured. Two of the attackers, a Syrian asylum seeker and a refugee from either Pakistan or Afghanistan, had links to Islamist militancy, officials say.

The interior minister will propose a raft of new security measures on Thursday, including speedier deportations and waiving doctor-patient confidentiality in some cases, German media reported.

(This story was refiled to make clear that the Interior Minister will present new security measures on Thursday, not Wednesday)

Islamist extremists North Rhine-Westphalia