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A recent report by the Interior Ministry notes that 40 women are among the 348 people known to have left Germany to fight for Islamist groups. The report also states that of the 120 German jihadists who have returned from Syria, only about 24 have agreed to cooperate with authorities. German authorities are currently conducting some 140 investigations against Islamic State fighters or supporters, and federal prosecutors have initiated 33 cases involving more than 60 jihadist suspects.
The trial of Kreshnik Berisha, an ethnic Kosovan from Frankfurt who is the first German accused of membership in the Islamic State, has begun. He had traveled to Syria in the summer of 2013 and was arrested in Frankfurt in December on his return. German authorities announced on Sept. 12 that they will start prosecuting anyone who tries to recruit for the IS or disseminate its propaganda. Sharia courts are said to be operating in a number of large German cities.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier said Germany would not be participating in airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria, and also said his country had not been asked to do so. The Interior Ministry reportedly has "imminent" plans to ban the Islamic State, which has attacked Yazidis in Herford and an asylum home in Berlin-Marie Felde and conducted other activities in Germany also. A government study of German jihadists found that 60 percent are German-born, about 20 percent are converts to Islam, 11 percent are women, most were radicalized in Salafist mosques, and about a third have returned to Germany.
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.