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Authorities arrested Steven N., 26, Abdullah W., 28, and Abdulsalam W., 23., all German nationals, at Hamburg airport on Sept. 6 on suspicion of membership in Shabaab; they had just arrived from Mombasa in Kenya. Two more Islamist terror suspects were arrested in Simbach am Inn while on their way to Syria; and two German Islamists suspected of Shabaab membership were recently arrested in Kenya. The trial of four Salafists accused of planning a failed bomb attack on the Bonn train station in December 2012 began yesterday; the suspects -- Marco G.; Enea B., a former member of an Albanian anti-terror police unit; and Koray D. and Tayfun S., both of Turkish origin -- also planned to bomb leaders of an anti-Islamist party.
Police in Wuppertal arrested 11 members of the "Sharia Police" earlier this week who had been telling people at drinking and gambling establishments to refrain from activity that violates Islam. Police said that local Salafists had been attempting to recruit young people.
Chancellor Merkel warned that the Islamic State now controls an area half the size of Germany, and said the terror group is causing "the far-reaching destabilization of an entire region [which] affects Germany and Europe." Defending Germany's decision to send arms to Kurdish fighters in Iraq battling the Islamic State, she also said the more than 400 Germans who have joined the ranks of the IS present a direct threat to Germany. Some 20 former German soldiers are known to have joined jihadist groups in Iraq and Syria. The head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency said the Islamic State's brutality has made it "much more attractive" to radicalized German Muslims than the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda's branch in Syria.
The public prosecutor is investigating Abu Bilal Ismail, a Danish imam from the Grimhøj mosque in Aarhus, after he recently told worshipers at the Al Nusrah mosque in Berlin that they should kill Jews "to the very last one" and "[m]ake them suffer terribly." Ismail has also encouraged Danes to travel to Syria for jihad. Pierre Vogel, a Salafist preacher and former boxer, has moved to Hamburg, where officials say there are about 240 Salafists, of whom some 70 support violent extremism.
The Interior Ministry said authorities have stepped up security at airports after a request by the US triggered by fresh concerns that al Qaeda may be trying to smuggle bombs on board airliners to the US. The head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency has warned that Islamist terrorism has become the number one threat to Germany, and noted that over 320 German Islamists have traveled to Syria for jihad; he also said the number of Salafists in Germany has risen from 4,500 in 2012 to about 6,000.