Germany’s top intelligence official has warned that the country faces an “explosive security situation” from terror that is greater than it has ever been.
Hans-Georg Maassen, the president of the domestic intelligence service the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), said the threat is mainly posed by religious and political extremists acting in the name of Islam.
However, extreme Right wing movements have also been stockpiling weapons in response to the surge in immigrants in Germany, according to Mr Maassen.
He said this week: “There is a continuing high threat situation for Germany and German interests from Islamist terrorism.”
The BfV estimates that the number of Islamic fundamentalists willing to use violence has grown substantially in Germany in recent years. It is now thought that at least 45,000 Islamists are in Germany – among them people willing to commit acts of terror or who would support those who do.
About 1,000 German natives have gone to the Middle East to fight for Islamic State having been radicalized by the Salafist group which inspired Anis Amri, the fanatic who drove a truck into a Christmas Market in Berlin last December, slaughtering 12 people (pictured).
However, the BfV said the greatest danger came from returning Jihadists who have gained detailed knowledge of explosives and may have been given large amounts of cash to fund terror attacks.
In conclusion Mr Maassen said: “The potential of violence-oriented Islamists in Germany is increasing and will increase even further. Germany was prioritised significantly higher in the target selection of ISIS in the course of the year 2016. Islamist terrorist attacks in Germany are possible at any time.”
His agency also warned of the growing dangers of the far right, particularly the so-called ‘Reichsburgers’ – Reich Citizens – who do not recognise the legitimacy of the post-1945 republic. The BfV estimates there are 10,000 of these radicals – 700 of whom are licensed to own weapons.