German intel: Islamists recruiting refugees

German special police members walk near a mosque association property in Berlin. (Reuters)

German intelligence warned Tuesday that the number of Islamic extremists in the country had increased sharply in recent months and expressed serious concern that they were recruiting among refugees.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany’s domestic security watchdog, said the number of radical Salafists had surged to 7,900 in September from 7,500 in June, and that many were trying to lure asylum-seekers into their ranks.

“We are very concerned that Islamists in Germany are trying, under the cover of humanitarian assistance, to exploit the situation of the refugees for their own ends and to proselytize and recruit among asylum-seekers,” BfV president Hans-Georg Maassen said in a statement.

Berlin raids over ISIS recruitment

Meanwhile, German police said they had conducted eight raids in Berlin on Tuesday targeting individuals suspected of inciting people to go and fight for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in Syria.

The raids began at 6:30 am (0430 GMT) and targeted, among others, a 51-year-old Moroccan, suspected of recruiting for the extremist group, police said in a statement.
A 19-year-old Macedonian thought to be currently in Syria is also suspected of involvement in the recruitment drive, it said.

One raid was conducted at an association adjoining a mosque in Berlin's central Tempelhof-Schoeneberg district, the statement added.

German intelligence estimates that some 600 Germans have joined extremists groups in Syria and Iraq.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46