29 German Soldiers Joined ISIS, Report Says 69 Active Soldiers Investigated

29 German Soldiers Joined ISIS, Report Says 69 Active Soldiers Investigated
Thu Apr 14, 2016 17:54:18

German counter-intelligence believes that at least 29 former soldiers from the country have left to join so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. An internal report also revealed that 65 active soldiers are being investigated for alleged terrorist sympathies.

The report was undertaken by the German military counter intelligence service (MAD), which was seen by the DPA news agency. The documents show that at least 29 former German soldiers have fled to the Middle East to join Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh).

As many as 22 soldiers have been identified within the Germany Army of being extremist since 2007, with 17 being sacked. The remaining five had reached the end of their service when the investigation had been concluded.

According to DPA, MAD has investigated a total of 320 suspected cases of extremists since 2007.

Alarmed by the revelations, the German Defense Ministry now wants MAD to take greater steps to ensure that extremists are not infiltrating the German Army.

At present, only those joining sensitive areas of the military have had to undergo background checks, while ordinary soldiers have not had to go through any vetting process.

“Just like other fighting forces, the Bundeswehr can be attractive for extremists who want to acquire weapons training,” Bartels said. “But to my knowledge there is so far no systematic push by extremists organizations to infiltrate the army.”

German domestic intelligence has also warned that there is a threat of future attacks in German cities from newly arrived migrants, amid fears that newly-arrived migrants are being radicalized.

“ISIS is willing to carry out attacks on Germany and German interests,” the head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maassen, told Die Welt newspaper, adding that ISIS propaganda in German cities are placed next to Paris, London and Brussels – all previous targets of large terror attacks.

The homeland security chief said airports and railway stations, as well as large-scale public events such as open air fests, were the most likely targets for potential attacks. In addition, Maassen stressed that “we’ve seen many times that those German nationals who returned from Syria had links to planning attacks in Germany.”

A recent study conducted by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) and published on April 1 says that between 720 and 760 Germans are believed to have traveled to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria.


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