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Counter terrorism ـ Raised threat across Germany

Nov 30, 2023 | Studies & Reports

European Centre for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies, Germany & Netherlands – ECCI

German intelligence warns of heightened terror risk

DW – Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says the danger of a terror attack in the country is “higher than it has been for a long time.” It cited the October 7 Hamas attacks and the subsequent Israel-Hamas war as factors.Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Consitution (BfV) on Wednesday said the danger of an Islamist terror attack on German soil had significantly increased. The agency said the raised risk of attacks against the Jewish community or “the West as a whole” came in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attacks and Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip.

What the report said

In the BfV threat assessment, agency leader Thomas Haldenwang said the threat of an Islamist attack had long loomed over Germany.”I have repeatedly emphasized that an Islamist attack can be carried out in Germany any day,” he said. However, Haldenwang said the current violence with Israel and the Palestinian territories had led to an increased frequency of calls for violence within the “jihadist spectrum.””This could lead to the radicalization of perpetrators acting alone who attack ‘soft targets’ with simple means,” said Haldenweg. “The danger is real and higher than it has been for a long time.”

The report noted that organizations such as the so-called “Islamic State” militant group and al-Qaeda were increasingly being drawn into the conflict. While there have been previous ideological differences between those groups and Hamas, the assessment noted that “antisemitism forms a common denominator.” “The dimension of the Hamas attack and the associated worldwide publicity are motivating IS and al-Qaeda to make expressions of support that previously seemed hardly conceivable,” the report said. “As a result, the risk potential for possible terrorist attacks against Jewish and Israeli people and institutions as well as against ‘the West’ as a whole has increased significantly.”

Raised threat across Europe

The BfV noted that terror attacks had occurred in some neighboring European countries in recent weeks, with some perpetrators making explicit reference to the Middle East conflict.”Against this background, several EU partner states have already increased their national terror alert levels,” the agency said.German authorities have already announced they are ramping up security for Jews and Jewish institutions in the wake of the October 7 attack on Israel. The BfV has also said that work is underway to prevent attacks at large events.

Polling earlier this month found that a majority of Germans thought attacks with large numbers of casualties were likely as a result of the ongoing Middle East violence.There were two Islamist militant attacks in France and Belgium last month that killed three people. These two countries, as well as Austria, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, have raised their terrorism threat alert levels.

The Israel-Hamas war began with Hamas’ October 7 attack in southern Israel, in which it killed over 1,200 people, mostly civilians. The militants kidnapped some 240 people and took them back into Gaza.Israel responded with an air campaign across Gaza and a ground invasion. More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. Hamas is classed as a terrorist organization in Germany, the EU and the US, among others.

European Centre for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies, Germany & Netherlands – ECCI

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