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Germany

Bavaria Deports Two in Terror Crackdown

Germany recently expelled two foreigners from the state of Bavaria, and more deportations are pending. The moves were part of a crackdown on foreign militants, made possible by newly tightened immigration laws.

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Germany's first 'deportation center' was opened in Bavaria in 2002

An Egyptian and an Afghan have been expelled from Germany for suspected terrorist links and dozens of other deportations are pending, authorities in the southern state of Bavaria said Monday.

Both men were sent to their respective home countries last week, the state interior ministry said in a statement. It added that 15 other deportation notices had been served and a further 22 were being prepared.

'Extremely dangerous'

It gave no details on the Afghan case, because investigations were continuing. The Egyptian, Omar Yousif, was expelled for threatening German security and supporting a terrorist organizion, the ministry said. The ministry said he had trained in Pakistan at a camp of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist group fighting against India in the disputed region of Kashmir.

Security authorities described Yousif, who had been in detention since December, as "extremely dangerous and prepared to do violence."

New laws make deportation easier

German security services have tightened surveillance on Islamist radicals since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Three of the suicide pilots in those attacks lived in Hamburg.

As a result of a new immigration law that took effect Jan. 1, it is now easier to deport suspected foreign militants. Bavaria has been among the most aggressive states in applying the new law, with 12 alleged "extremists and hate preachers" removed since November.

Kompetenzteam CDU: Günther Beckstein, Porträt

Günther Beckstein, Bavarian interior minister

The two latest cases "show Bavaria is continuing to take a tough line on Islamist extremists and swiftly end their residence in Germany," said conservative state Interior Minister Günther Beckstein (photo).

If the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) win national elections expected in September -- as they are widely expected to do -- Beckstein will likely be a candidate to run the federal interior ministry.

Anti-immigration campaign platform

In a statement that set off a wave of controversy, Beckstein told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that the CDU/CSU would conduct its campaign in the coming elections on an anti-immigration platform.

Voters have the choice between a policy of "massive immigration" if they vote for the Social Democrat-Green party coalition, or one "without immigration, but with extensive family policies, life long work, and permanent further education."

Populist rhetoric?

The comment unleashed loud resistance and accusations of using dangerously populist tactics, even from the CDU/CSU allied Free Democrats. The FDP spokesman for interior issues, Max Stadler, said the plan to base an election on immigration issues took a "populist approach"

"Nobody would be in favor of massive immigration to Germany," he told the DPA news agency, "That is an accusation that has nothing to do with reality and only serves to get your own followers riled up for the campaign."

FDP steering committee member Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told Handelsblatt on Monday that the comments were "the most sickening kind of campaign rhetoric." And the head of the German Institute for Economic Development (DIW), Klaus Zimmermann, told the paper that such parries "corrupt the social climate."

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