Germany may face Istanbul-style attacks as IS fighters find way to Europe – spy chief
The biggest threat to Germany’s security is the possibility of terror attacks similar to the shooting and bombing that took place in Istanbul last week, Hans Georg Maassen, the head of country’s domestic intelligence agency, said in an interview to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Saturday.
“We can't rule out attacks like those in Istanbul also happening in our country,” Maassen said.
The German Special Services know about at least 17 Islamic State militants who entered the European Union pretending to be refugees, Maassen added.
“There is strong evidence that… 17 people have arrived under Islamic State instructions," Maassen said.
The majority of terrorists on the list were either neutralized, or are currently behind bars. In particular, two of the suspects were killed in November during the Paris attacks.
IS has recently suffered a number of military defeats in the Middle East, but it didn’t affect the intentions of those who manage to find way into Europe, Massen said. Attacks in Europe are gaining special importance for IS leaders and are used as a tool to show their followers that “we are still here,” he added.
In June, Maassen told Reuters that Germany was on high alert for potential attacks. The German BfV intelligence agency carried out a few drills to get prepared, with several attacks already prevented.
Three Syrian men were detained in June on suspicion of having planned multiple large-scale attacks in the German city of Dusseldorf.
Maassen added that the agency is on the lookout for possible lone wolf, radicalized attackers.
German authorities checked some 400 suspected jihadists among the refugees, but the majority of the cases turned out to be false alarms.
200,000 refugees have arrived in Germany since January, and over the last year, the number of migrants who arrived totaled more than 1 million people.