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Germany alarmed over 'IS'

June 30, 2015

Europe is facing a "new dimension" of terror stemming from the "Islamic State"' footholds in Syria and Iraq, according to Germany's domestic intelligence agency. Its also pointed to far-right wing violence in Germany.

Deutschland Verfassungsschutzbericht 2014
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Pilick

The German agency in its latest report summarizing trends in 2014 warned on Tuesday that "IS" with its self-imposed "Caliphate" was trying to establish a "logistic center" larger than its fore-runner al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

The federal service headquartered in Cologne said if that happened, terrorists would be capable of coordinating complex attacks.

IS' recruitment of individuals willing to travel to Syria and Iraq was cause for alarm among security services, the agency said.

'Sounding board'

Its president Hans-Georg Maassen said the presence of 7,500 salafist sympathizers within Germany amounted to a "large sounding board" for recruitment.

Germany's political mainstream and society, and not only its security services, had the joint task of de-masking the IS and showing the extent of its brutal reality, he said.

Refugee accommodation attacked

Attending the report's presentation in Berlin, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere (pictured right with Maassen) said in the first six months of 2015 Germany authorities had already recorded 150 attacks of accommodation intended for refugees.

In the latest such non-injury attacks, suspected arsonists set fire to premises still being renovated to accommodate refugees in Meissen in the eastern Brandenburg state and in Lübeck in the northern maritime state of Schleswig-Holstein.

Brand in zukünftiger Asylbewerberunterkunft
Police analyze the Troglitz site in AprilImage: picture-alliance/dpa/Hendrik Schmidt

They followed recent prominent attacks in Tröglitz in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt and Vorra in northern Bavaria.

'Clear' sanctions

De Maiziere on Tuesday demanded "clear" sanctions to deter anti-foreigner perpetrators.

Far-right attacks have the tendency in the affected communities to create a "climate of anxiety and intimidation," de Maizière said.

"Every such attack is an attack on the civil law state and on every citizen of this country," he said while thanking citizens who assisted refugees and made them feel welcome in Germany.

The federal agency's report published Tuesday highlighted a 23.6 percent increase in far-right motivated acts of violence across Germany in 2014.

This was the highest level since 2008, said the report.

Among the estimated 21,000 far-right adherents every second person was regarded as violence-prone, the report said.

In contrast, there had been 995 left-wing motivated acts of violence, which amounted to a stagnating trend.

ipj/kms (AFP, dpa, epd)