BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government banned the militant jihadist group Tauhid Germany as a threat to society on Thursday and launched raids in four states on its supporters, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.
The group, an outgrowth of the radical Millatu Ibrahim group that was banned in 2012, "glorifies the violent jihad of terrorist groups such as the so-called 'Islamic State' in Syria and Iraq", a statement by his ministry said.
It added that Tauhid Germany, also known as Team Tauhid Media, used various internet sites and information stands to urge Muslims to fight against German democracy.
"Today's ban sends a clear signal to the militant jihadist scene. We're taking firm and permanent action against efforts that oppose our constitutional order," De Maiziere told a hastily arranged news conference in Berlin.
He added that around 500 police officers had searched 26 properties on Thursday in connection with the ban. The ministry said raids were conducted in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein states.
The ministry said leading figures of Millatu Ibrahim had continued their unconstitutional activities under the name of Tauhid Germany. Internet providers have been asked to remove its material from their servers.
Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Tom Heneghan