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More than 400 on German Islamist watch list

The leader of Germany's federal police has said that the number of militants returning to the country from the Middle East is on the rise. The police stressed, however, that no attack in Germany is imminent.

As the number of jihadist fighters returning to Germany is on the upswing, the head of Germany's BKA federal police force said on Friday that more than 400 people were now on the government's watch list.

BKA chief Holger Münch told state broadcaster ARD that while it may seem like good news that the number of peopling leaving Germany to join militant groups in Syria and Iraq is dropping, that of course means that more radicalized young people will now be back in Europe.

"The wave of departures is flattening out," Münch said. "In the meantime, we have more than 400 individuals who pose a threat and whom we must keep an eye on."

Münch said the BKA was aware of more than 780 radicalized Islamists who had left Germany, and with many of them now returning it was the job of the police to see "who among them is disillusioned, and maybe no longer poses a problem" and who was still a problem.

He also took the opportunity to quell fears that the recent deaths of 10 German tourists at the hands of an "Islamic State" (IS)

suicide bomber in Istanbul

meant that a similar attack was imminent in Germany.

Both the Turkish and German governments have said that the Istanbul bombing was

not directly targeting Germans,

but both nations are part of a US-led coalition carrying out airstrikes against IS strongholds, earning the ire of the terrorist group.

es/jil (dpa, Reuters)

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