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German court sentences two 'Islamic State' members to seven years in prison

A court in northern Germany has sentenced two men to a total of seven years and three months in jail for being members of a terrorist organization. The two men returned to Germany last year after several months in Syria.

The regional court in Celle handed down the sentences to the two German-Tunisians on Monday. Twenty-seven-year-old Ayoub B. was sentenced to four years and three months in jail, and 26-year-old Ebrahim H.B. was sentenced to three years. Their last names weren't given in accordance with German privacy laws.

Along with dozens of other young people, the duo was inspired to join the "Islamic State" (IS) by radical preachers in the northern German town of Wolfsburg.

More than 700 people have traveled from Germany to Syria and Iraq in recent years to join extremist Islamic groups such as IS.

'Disillusioned'

After setting out for Syria in 2014, the two men became disillusioned by the terrorist group and fled back to the German state of Lower Saxony about three months later.

Prosecutors said Ebrahim H.B. was part of an IS unit sent to carry out a suicide attack in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, but the attempt was aborted after some members of the group were arrested.

Ayoub B. was also accused of taking part in combat for IS. His defense argued, however, that his client had only wanted to travel to Syria to study Islam, not to fight.

IS death list

Ahead of Monday's trial, both convicts spoke at length about the background of the terrorist militia, both to German authorities as well as three of Germany's main television broadcasters. As a result, Ayoub B. now sits on an IS death list marked as a "traitor."

The number of radical Islamic Salafists, both in Lower Saxony and across Germany, has continued to increase. According to Germany's intelligence agency, the BND, the number of Salafists has risen from 5,500 to 7,900 in just two years.

The terrorist attacks in Paris last month have also

heightened fears among the public

of an attack on German soil.

ksb/cmk (AP, dpa)

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