Germany: Intelligence Chief Calls for Vigilance, Fearing ISIS Return
A state of alert has taken over in Germany’s capital, Berlin, amidst fears of the return of German ISIS militants held by the Kurds in Syria.
Head of the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) Thomas Haldenwang have joined parties launching these calls.
In remarks to Der Spiegel website, Haldenwang said German security services shall be “vigilant” for the possible return of fighters.
“The conflict in northern Syria may lead to the release of foreign ISIS militants from prisons and their return to Europe,” he explained.
He also expressed fears that ISIS could regain power following the Turkish military operation in Syria.
According to the German government, Kurds in Syria have 84 German-national ISIS militants. Almost one third of them are classified by the German police as a threat, including 19 men and eight women.
The police believe they pose a high threat and could carry out terrorist attacks in the country.
Der Spiegel said 50 out of 84 fighters may remain free after returning to Germany since there is no evidence to prosecute them for their actions in Syria and Iraq.
The website added that at least four women with German citizenship have fled Kurdish prisons since the Turkish operation began a week ago.
A few months ago, German newspapers reported a visit by German intelligence agents to the Kurdish prisons, where foreign fighters remain, to “assess” German fighters there.
Germany refuses to take them back because it doesn’t have enough evidence to try them, meaning they will remain free.
Germany's security authorities do not only fear the return of ISIS extremists but also fears the right-wing extremism, which has become an quivalent threat compared to fundamentalist militancy, according to Germany's security assessment.
State interior ministers met on Friday to agree on additional measures that could be taken to combat the spread of the far right, especially after the attack on a Jewish synagogue a few days ago.