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Germany Bans ISIS Activities: Black Flag, Social-Media Support a Crime

MAINZ, Germany - Germany banned images and activities linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham on Friday, including social media support and display of the militant group's signature black flag. Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that ignoring the ban - which also covers participating in demonstrations or supporting the group financially - "is a crime with immediate effect." He called the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham - which has waged a bloody campaign through Iraq and Syria - a threat to Germany. “Today, we are decisively acting against this threat,” he said.

Violators of the ban could face jail time, Germany's Justice Ministry said. ISIS has used glossy propaganda videos and social media to attract recruits. Officials in Germany welcomed Friday's move but urged more measures to halt extremists' activities. An estimated 400 Germans have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with ISIS, sparking fears jihadists could return home and carry out terror attacks. German law also prohibits the use or depiction of swastikas.

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- Andy Eckardt