German police prevent Islamist terror attack in Hamburg just days after new interior minister said ‘right-wing extremism’ is country’s biggest threat

Police officers hold weapons during a training operation of the new BFE+ (Evidence and Arrestment) unit of the German federal police in Ahrensfelde near Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
By Karolina Klaskova
3 Min Read

German authorities said they prevented a terrorist attack in the northern German port city of Hamburg involving a 20-year-old German of Moroccan origin, who was arrested on Aug. 26, Hamburg’s Interior Minister Andy Grote announced on Friday.

The terrorist attacked was allegedly thwarted just days after Germany’s new far left Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said that the biggest threat facing the country is right-wing extremism.

The man encountered an undercover investigator when he allegedly tried to buy a pistol and a grenade. Grote described the plot as “very, very serious,” DPA news agency reported.

The investigators found during a house search an array of chemicals and shrapnel used in bomb-making. According to the police, such a bomb could have caused “serious or evenly deadly injuries.”

The suspect, who is now in pre-trial detention, is the son of an Islamist known to the Hamburg authorities for a long time. His father was one of the radicals in the local Al-Quds Mosque where several of the plotters of the September 11 attacks around Muhammad Atta had been meeting.

In 2016, the family allegedly moved from Hamburg to Morocco, where the now-arrested individual graduated from school. He returned to Germany last autumn and studied in the town of Wismar.

Radical Islam a serious threat in Germany

As earlier reported by Remix News, Islamic terrorism is a serious threat in Germany, despite Muslims making up a small proportion of the population.

For example, the German Federal Public Prosecutor (GBA) announced that for 2019 that 400 of the total of 663 terrorist proceedings were related to Islamic terrorism, representing 60.3 percent of all cases, a finding that was also reflected in previous years. The GBA data also shows that Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis make up a significant number of these terrorist suspects. 

In the first half of 2020, 151 cases have been pursued against Islamist terrorist suspects in Germany.

Critics accuse Germany’s new interior minister, Nancy Faeser, of downplaying the threat of Islamic extremism, migrant crime, and left-wing violence for political resons.

According to a report by the Tagesspiegel, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) considers around 2,000 Islamists in Germany to be particularly dangerous. 

“Those are all that we, as the intelligence service, trust to potentially carry out terrorism and even attacks,” BfV President Thomas Haldenwang told the newspaper in September.

The number is higher for Islamists, who are classified as dangerous by the police, since the protection of the constitution “can classify dangerous persons as a risk even before a possible criminal liability”. At the request of the Tagesspiegel, the Federal Criminal Police Office spoke of currently 551 Islamist threats and 536 “relevant people”, who are potential supporters of terrorists.

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