German Intel Agency Reports Rapid Increase In Islamic Radicals

Jacob Bojesson | Foreign Correspondent

German intelligence agency BfV reported a new record in the number of Salafists living in the country Sunday.

BfV chief Hans-Georg Maassen said the movement has grown from 9,700 in late 2016 to 10,800 by the end of 2017, marking “an all-time high.” The movement has become harder to track with a growing “fragmentation” in the private sphere, Maassen said.

Salafism is an ultra-conservative branch within Sunni-Islam and German authorities consider it a potential breeding ground for terrorism. Another worrying trend us that some 500 extremists from regions such as Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingusheti are currently believed to be in the country.

“The affinity for violence, martial arts and weaponry held by many Islamists from the North Caucasus calls for attention from German security authorities,” Maassen said, according to Deutsche Welle.

The number of terrorism-related cases investigated by German authorities have quadrupled over the past year, according to newspaper Welt am Sonntag. (RELATED: Terrorism-Related Cases In Germany Quadruple In One Year)

Prosecutors have opened more than 900 cases so far in 2017, compared to 240 throughout 2016. Eighty cases related to terrorism reached the courts in 2013.

Germany’s federal police (BKA) estimates that 705 Islamist extremists are willing to carry out terror attacks, up from 600 during an estimate in February. BfV recently said around 24,400 Islamists are active in the country but most of them don’t pose an immediate terror threat.

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