German raids target internet hate speech

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One of the main targets of the operation was a secret Facebook group in Bavaria

German police have carried out a nationwide operation against some 60 individuals suspected of inciting hatred by posting on the internet.

The unprecedented raids were carried out in 14 of Germany's 16 states.

One key target was a secret Facebook group in southern state of Bavaria whose members glorified Nazism.

"Violent language is unacceptable and lays the groundwork for real violence," said Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

The government warned that anyone who posted hate speech on the internet faced severe penalties.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the internet should not be seen as a legal vacuum and praised the operation, which he said "should serve as a warning to anyone before he hits the keyboard on Facebook".