Results tagged “Germany”
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Germany's spy chief said that about 170 German Islamists have traveled to Syria for jihad, and warned that 50 have gone to Syria in recent months. Chancellor Merkel appears likely to win a third term in general elections today.
General Wieker, the head of the German military, told lawmakers that the influence of al-Qaeda linked forces within the Syrian opposition was becoming stronger and stronger. A German newspaper claimed that a German spy ship intercepted calls in recent months from Syrian commanders asking the Assad regime for permission to use chemical weapons but that the permission was repeatedly denied. Another German news report said that German intelligence and the CIA jointly tracked German Islamists from 2005 until 2010, when the cooperation ended.
Chancellor Merkel pushed back from Western plans for an immediate military intervention in Syira, agreeing with Russian president Vladimir Putin that the Syrian crisis can be resolved only by political action, and said that discussions at the UN Security Council should lead to a "unanimous and quick international reaction." Such reaction is a necessary response to the "inhumane poison gas attack against Syrian civilians," she said. Merkel also called on Germans to welcome Syrian refugees.
A German media report said intelligence sources claimed that the recently intercepted communications between al Qaeda leaders included discussion of attacking European railways. German authorities are said to have taken discreet measures in response, including the deployment of plain-clothed police in stations and on trains.
German authorities have asked Sweden to investigate an Iranian linked to a plan by extremist cleric Mullah Krekar to create a terror network of Europeans aimed at establishing an Islamic caliphate in Kurdistan. At least 10 people, residing in Norway, Germany, the UK, Switzerland, and Iraq, are suspected of links to the network, known as "Rawt."
Police are investigating two Tunisian men suspected of plotting to carry out terrorist attacks via model airplanes; raids were carried out in Belgium and in the German states of Bavaria, Baden-Wurttemberg, and Saxony. Police also searched the apartments of four suspected accomplices in Munich and Stuttgart who are believed to have "provided financing for the militant jihad." Some of the suspects are aerospace engineering students at the University of Stuttgart, where they learn to program model planes for specific flight routes.
The Foreign Ministry said Germany would stick to its position of not providing weapons to a country in a civil war, despite the US decision to step up arms to Syrian rebels in the wake of confirmation that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons. Germany has been providing bulletproof vests and first aid supplies to the Free Syrian Army.
The annual report of Germany's domestic intelligence agency noted that the number of Islamists surged last year; membership in Milli Görüs, the largest Islamist organization in the country, or Hezbollah in Germany, rose to 42,550 in 2012 from 38,080 in 2011, and the number of Salafists rose to 4,500 from 3,800 during the same time period. On the other hand, membership in the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) declined to 6,000.